Politics & Policy

ABC Chief Political Analyst: GOP Rep. Stefanik a ‘Perfect Example’ of the Failures of Electing Someone ‘Because They Are a Woman’

Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, asks questions during the first public hearings held by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as part of the impeachment inquiry in Washington, D.C., November 13, 2019. (Saul Loeb/Reuters Pool)

Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, suggested that Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) was elected due to her gender after taking issue with Stefanik’s line of questioning during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday.

“Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing someone because they are a woman or a millennial doesn’t necessarily get you the leaders we need,” Dowd tweeted of Stefanik — the youngest Republican woman ever elected to Congress — who on Wednesday was named a member of Time’s “100 Next” rising profiles.

“Elise has built a record as an authentic, respected voice for ideas and common sense. And she has built an organization to recruit more women to run for office in a party that needs more inclusivity. This is a fight she has taken on personally and passionately,” former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wrote in Stefanik’s Time profile. “ . . . Elise isn’t just the future of the Republican Party. She is the future of hopeful, aspirational politics in America.”

After criticism, Dowd deleted the tweet, and claimed that he was misunderstood for “just saying we need more millennials or more women [which] isn’t going to solve the problem of needing more leaders with integrity.”

Dowd’s comments came as Stefanik participated in the House Intelligence Committee’s first public impeachment hearing, which featured testimony from William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Europe. The New York Republican began the hearing by asking House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) whether the minority would not be prohibited from asking questions during the testimony, a complaint House Republicans have leveled at Schiff in the past.

During the hearing, Stefanik won praise from conservative commentators for a sharp line of questioning which probed corruption allegations involving Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company which employed Hunter Biden.

Dowd and others criticized Stefanik for succumbing to partisan loyalties in response to her questioning of the impeachment witnesses. “She has campaigned on country over party and done exact opposite in office,” Dowd tweeted.

Following Dowd’s gendered criticism of Stefanik, the Congresswoman responded by tweeting, “I earn support from #NY21 voters bc of my focus on keeping my promises & delivering #Results.”

Update 5:20 p.m.: Dowd apologized further for his comments, saying “lesson learned.”

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