Expose Of Stefanik's Privileged Life Blows Up Her 'Humble Origins' Myth

@alexvhenderson
Elise Stefanik

Rep. Elise Stefanik

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has often painted herself as someone who came from a humble working-class background but pulled herself up by the bootstraps.

Stefanik, who Donald Trump is reportedly considering as a possible running mate in the 2024 presidential race, acknowledges that she attended Harvard University. But she paints her Ivy League education as an example of beating and overcoming the odds — not an example of privilege.

In an article published on April 14, however, Daily Beast reporters William Bredderman and Jake Lahut stress that Stefanik has had a much more comfortable life than she claims.

"If Stefanik was supposed to remember where she came from," Bredderman and Lahut explain, "she seems to have forgotten — to the point of making blatantly misleading statements, beginning in her first congressional campaign — how her family's wealth has given her a leg up, from providing her with an expensive private-school education to her parents buying her a $1.2 million D.C. townhouse when she was just 26. Instead of acknowledging those advantages, Stefanik has repeatedly downplayed her wealth, including in a statement to The Daily Beast."

Bredderman and Lahut add that Stefanik's "humble origin story falls away under a little pressure."

"From the start, she has maintained that she saw her parents 'risk everything' to establish Premium Plywood Products when she was a child," the reporters note. "But even the story she has told of the company's founding is incomplete. While every business venture involves risk, the Stefaniks didn't shoulder it alone: less than two months after incorporating Premium Plywood Products in late 1991, public records show they secured a Small Business Administration-guaranteed loan worth $335,000 — roughly $755,000 in today's money."

According to Bredderman and Lahut, Stefanik's "private education at Albany Academy for Girls offered a crash course in the ways of the New York capital’s moneyed elite."

"The children of political tycoons, from former President Theodore Roosevelt to former Gov. Mario Cuomo, have sent their children to its all-male counterpart across the street, The Albany Academy, where students pay the same tuition — $25,600 for the most recent academic year," Bredderman and Lahut report. "After graduating from Harvard in 2006, Stefanik decamped to D.C. to serve in then-President George W. Bush's administration — a role one of her Ivy League mentors helped her land. She would work her way up into the White House Chief of Staff's Office."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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