During an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Tuesday, Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the newly minted youngest member of congress, was asked if she is treated by her colleagues as the congresswoman she is “as opposed to that girl.”
Eugene Robinson, a columnist for the Washington Post and a frequent commentator on MSNBC, seemed to imply sexism when he asked Representative Stefanik if her fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill disregard the 30-year-old because of her gender and youth.
“Do you feel that you’re getting a lot of unwanted, avuncular advice, or are you treated as a congresswoman as opposed to that girl who–” Robinson asked before Stefanik, unfazed, jumped in with an answer.
“I’m definitely treated as a peer and I have great committee assignments,” Stefanik responded. “I got my top two choices, House Armed Services Committee and Education and Workforce, and I think that the GOP leadership in particular has recognized that we have to do better in communicating our message to Millennials and young women, so I think I’ve had more opportunities than a typical freshman, which is really important for my district. My constituents know that I’m going to Washington not to be a backbencher but to be part of the decision-making from day one.”
While the congresswoman did not seem offended by Robinson’s implications that her peers are sexist, this isn’t the first time the left-leaning network has generalized the Republican party as an oppressor of women. MSNBC host Alex Wagner has accused the G.O.P. of waging an “anti-woman crusade” in the past.
Stefanik’s appearance on Morning Joe came hours before she chaired the House Republican Policy Committee’s first hearing of the 114th Congress. The hearing focused on the the GOP’s outreach to Millennials.
The New York congresswoman and the other Republicans at the hearing discussed the impact that the national debt, unemployment, and the student loan bubble will have on the Millennial generation. Stefanik said that these combined issues “will continue to hamper our generation’s economic growth.”
Although polling suggests that Millennials tend to be politically apathetic, Stefanik stressed the importance of finding new, innovative ways for the Republican Party to connect with the young voters, who could be an electoral force if they chose to become engaged.
A member of the millennial generation herself, Stefanik told those attending the hearing “we [the GOP] need to rethink” how to convey Republican values to Millennials.
— Julia Porterfield is an intern at National Review, editor-in-chief of Red Millennial, and a junior at Regent University.