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As the race to the bottom continues, Stefanik targets N.Y. judge

Donald Trump isn't the only one to make provocative claims about Judge Juan Merchan's daughter: House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik did it, too.


As the race to the bottom among Donald Trump’s prospective running mates continues, it’s apparently House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik’s turn to try to impress the former president and his political operation. The conservative Washington Times reported this week:

Rep. Elise Stefanik called on New York Judge Juan Merchan to recuse himself from Donald Trump’s hush money case for having a “clear judicial bias” against the former president.

In a written statement issued Wednesday, the GOP congresswoman took aim at “Democrat Manhattan Judge Juan Merchan,” made a provocative reference to the jurist’s daughter, and made a baseless claim that Merchan’s daughter “has financially benefited” from a trial that hasn’t even begun.

Stefanik, who almost certainly knows better, also insisted that Merchan’s gag order against Trump is “unconstitutional” — it's really not — before concluding, “We cannot allow a biased, far-left activist judge to strip the American people of our constitutional right to select [our] own leaders.”

To the extent that reality still has any meaning, much of the House Republican’s statement was entirely baseless and needlessly conspiratorial. For that matter, the idea that the judge — who was randomly assigned to a criminal case brought by local prosecutors — is trying to stop voters from choosing their own leaders is absurd.

Stefanik’s nonsense, however, was not unexpected.

On the contrary, this comes on the heels of the GOP lawmaker filing a formal complaint against New York Attorney General Letitia James over her fraud case against the former president.

Which came on the heels of Stefanik’s incoherent criticisms of a judge who’d just granted Team Trump’s request for a postponement in a civil case.

Which came on the heels of Stefanik claiming with a straight face that Trump hadn’t confused Nikki Haley and Nancy Pelosi, even after everyone saw him do exactly that.

Which came on the heels of Stefanik echoing Trump’s rhetoric about Jan. 6 rioters being “hostages” — a claim that even some in her party were not comfortable with.

Which came on the heels of Stefanik responding to Trump’s classified documents scandal by criticizing the National Archives, helping launch an effort to “expunge“ Trump’s impeachments, and joining a partisan crusade against federal law enforcement.

Which came on the heels of Stefanik filing an ethics complaint against the judge overseeing Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York and pressing the Justice Department to prosecute Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer who has since become a fierce critic of the former president.

I continue to believe that no one should want to be vice president this badly.

This post revises our related earlier coverage.