TOWN OF WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - 7 News anchor Jeff Cole recently sat down with north country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik to talk about coronavirus, her defense of President Trump, and her reelection campaign.
Watching Washington, you recently heard Stefanik, over and over, adamantly defending President Trump at the impeachment hearings.
"Nothing rises to the level of impeachable offenses," she said during the hearings.
It was a much different tone than a comment she made to 7 News in August 2015 when then-candidate Trump was running to be the Republican presidential nominee.
"I think that he will not be the nominee," she said at the time.
In a sit-down Friday, the Congresswoman admitted to the turnaround.
"In his first term, he has focused on the economy, trade deals. We passed a farm bill and we've rebuilt the military so when it comes to delivering results in this district, he's an effective partner and he's popular in this district," said Stefanik (R. - 21st District).
She defends the administration when it comes to the U.S. reaction to the coronavirus - something she calls a public health challenge.
"I'm focused on what we need now - there will be time to look back and make sure what the lessons learned are. Let's make sure right now that we have all the resources we need right now and the American people have the information they need," she said.
Defending the president has paid off in campaign contributions too - raising millions of dollars after getting national attention.
Some of that money, estimated to be $8,400, came from Steve Wynn, a casino developer forced out of his company after facing accusations of sexual assault and misconduct. Stefanik's Democratic opponent in the 21st District, Tedra Cobb, called on Stefanik to give the money back - prompting this response from Stefanik:
"She should give back the money she accepted from Harvey Weistein's lawyer - and give back the $2 million she raised from "#trashystefanik." She's so quick to accuse others, those were sexist smears, and not befitting of the north country."
Cobb's campaign says the Weinstein money was donated to a charity that helps survivors of sexual assault.
As for the #trashystefanik, Cobb says her campaign didn't use it and immediately condemned it, saying, "I don't do name calling." She added she expects leaders to take the high road and "Stefanik should give it a try."
Cole asked Stefanik whether it's appropriate for her campaign to call Cobb "Taxing Tedra."
"The fact is she has voted numerous times to increase taxes, this is a policy issue. This is not a character attack. This is a policy difference," said Stefanik.
As for raising taxes, Cobb’s campaign says that isn’t true. And, again, on name calling, Cobb states she thinks it’s time the Congresswoman joined her in pledging not to name call in this campaign.