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Stefanik’s political evolution mirrors story of today’s GOP

In this January 17, 2021 photo, Rep. Elise Stefanik introduces then-Vice President Mike Pence...
In this January 17, 2021 photo, Rep. Elise Stefanik introduces then-Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence to speak to 10th Mountain Division soldiers at Fort Drum.(Adrian Kraus | AP Photo/Adam Krause)
Published: May. 10, 2021 at 6:45 AM EDT
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NEW YORK (AP) - There was a brief time, not long ago, when Elise Stefanik wouldn’t say Donald Trump’s name.

Today, Stefanik is one of Trump’s fiercest defenders in the House of Representatives.

And her loyalty to the former president has carried the 36-year-old New York congresswoman to the brink of becoming one of the most powerful women on Capitol Hill.

Stefanik’s evolution is the story of the modern-day Republican Party.

Today’s GOP has come to believe that the path to power and fundraising success runs through Trump, whether party members like him or not.

A few Republicans have resisted Trump’s influence, but the vast majority has fallen in line even as Trump continues to spread disinformation about the 2020 election.

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