Stefanik goes viral questioning university presidents about anti-Semitism

Ms. Stefanik called his removal at the time “a rite of passage and a badge of honor.”

Bill Kristol, the prominent anti-Trump Republican with whom Ms. Stefanik once worked, said he had been on multiple text chains with other Harvard alumni who shared a similar reaction watching clips of the hearing. The general sentiment, he said, was: “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Elise Stefanik is doing a great job of putting Claudine Gay on the spot.”

The bigger political question at stake, Kristol said, was whether college administrators’ response to anti-Semitism rearing its head on campuses would alienate centrist Republicans who voted for President Biden in 2020.

“They see it and think, ‘All my suspicions have been confirmed,’” Kristol said. He said that for Americans worried about Trump’s potential re-election, a moment when Ms. Stefanik seemed reasonable was cause for concern.

Ms Stefanik said on Thursday she was proud to have struck a chord.

“I’m holding my head high,” he said. “On humanity’s most moral issue, the genocide of humanity, there should be no moral misunderstanding.”

Representative Ritchie Torres, Democrat of New York, was among the Democrats to admit that Ms. Stefanik was right, but said that did not change his opinion of her.

“Even a broken watch is good twice a day,” he said. “You continue to be a hateful demagogue.”

He said his viral moment was “less about Stefanik and more about the blatant indifference to anti-Semitism among university presidents. The cross-examination confirmed what we all know: that our college campuses lack moral common sense. If I were them I would resign in dishonor.”

Stefania Saulo contributed to the reporting.