Elise Stefanik Blasted for 'Despicable' Facebook Ads Pushing 'Replacement Theory'

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik was blasted by her hometown newspaper over "despicable" new Facebook ads it says push the racist "replacement theory."

"Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION," says one ad that was paid for by Stefanik's campaign. The text accompanied an image of numerous migrants reflected in the aviator sunglasses worn by President Joe Biden.

In a scathing editorial with the title "How low, Miss Stefanik?" published Friday, the Times Union's editorial board accused the No. 3 House Republican of touting the conspiracy theory that white people are being intentionally replaced by immigrants.

The editorial noted that white supremacists had chanted slogans such as "you will not replace us" at a 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and that "decent" Americans had "recoiled at the undeniable echo of Nazi Germany."

"That rhetoric has been resonating ever since in the right wing, repackaged lately in what's known as 'replacement theory,' espoused by conservative media figures like Fox News' Tucker Carlson," it said.

The editorial claims "replacement theory" has now "seeped into the mainstream political discourse in the Capital Region, where Rep. Elise Stefanik has adapted this despicable tactic for campaign ads.

"Ms. Stefanik isn't so brazen as to use the slogans themselves; rather, she couches the hate in alarmist, anti-immigrant rhetoric that's become standard fare for the party of Donald Trump," it continued.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) attends a press briefing following a House Republican conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol on June 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

"And she doesn't quite attack immigrants directly; instead, she alleges the Democrats are looking to grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants in order to gain a permanent liberal majority, or, as she calls it, a 'permanent election insurrection.'

"Quite a choice of words, of course, considering that the country is still suffering the aftershocks of the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington by supporters of Mr. Trump who tried to overturn Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election."

Stefanik's loyalty to Trump in the aftermath won her a leadership post in the House Republican caucus.

The Times Union editorial accused her of using "fear-based political tactics" that echo Trump's attacks on Mexicans and Muslims during his 2016 presidential campaign.

"The idea of America as a melting pot is not some idealistic fiction of the left; it is part of the foundation of this nation's greatness," it concluded.

"If there's anything that needs replacing in this country—and in the Republican Party—it's the hateful rhetoric that Ms. Stefanik and far too many of her colleagues so seamlessly spew."

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Stefanik hit back at the Times Union's critique in a Facebook post, describing it as a "desperate attempt to stoke outrage."

"To equate opposition to illegal immigration with Nazism and white supremacy is a desperate attempt to stoke outrage & avoid covering Joe Biden's border crisis," the post said.

"Republicans are the party of legal immigration while Democrats support amnesty for illegals. And as a reminder: the vast majority of NY-21 and Upstate NY oppose amnesty for illegals. They support fixing our broken legal immigration system - which does not include granting amnesty for >11 million illegals."

She added: "The Times Union always goes LOW led by the mansplainer in chief."

The Times Union and Stefanik's office have been contacted for additional comment.