While some old-guard Republican officials seem to have undergone a legitimate change during the Trump years as they recognized the reality of the once-in-a-lifetime political sea change in the party, others remain snakes in the grass ready to undermine the nascent America First movement at crucial junctures. 

Representative Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) is a particularly pernicious member of this fifth column, working deviously to undermine the strength of the GOP from within. 

Malliotakis has successfully navigated the tumultuous climate within the party since the rise of Donald Trump. Before Trump entered the political scene, Malliotakis was an unproductive New York assemblywoman celebrated as part of the rising liberal vanguard within the Republican Party. She refused to call herself “pro-life,” supported Roe v. Wade, called to end the laughably nonexistent gender pay gap, and pushed gun control through her support of the infamous SAFE Act. She played the “woman card” repeatedly and envisioned it as her ticket to political stardom. 

“I know how difficult it is to be in a male-dominated field,” Malliotakis said while playing victim politics during her failed campaign for New York City mayor, “and so I think it’s having a woman be mayor, I mean that’s the greatest thing we could do for women’s equality.” 

Malliotakis echoed a popular Hillary Clinton talking point by narcissistically claiming her election “would do more for women’s equality than any other types of bills . . . or proclamations, or anything like that. And so, if I can deliver that for the women of New York City, that would be wonderful.” 

During her less than memorable and uncompetitive run for mayor, Malliotakis expressed her sorrow for voting for President Donald Trump while on the campaign trail against Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017. 

“In hindsight, what I really wish is that Marco Rubio was the Republican nominee. He wasn’t,” she said to the New York Daily News. “I voted for the person who I thought would shake things up.” 

“I’d write in Marco Rubio . . . I’d write in Marco Rubio so that I could tell you I voted [for] Marco Rubio,” she said about her regret for voting for President Trump. 

Many people had legitimate reservations about Trump due to his bombast, lack of experience in elected office, and unfamiliarity with conservative ideology before he entered the White House. When he became president and delivered immediately in a way that no Republican president has in generations, however, Trump won over most of the grassroots of the conservative movement and became the most popular Republican since Ronald Reagan. 

As conservatives were becoming enamored with Trump and his refreshingly blistering brand of politics, Malliotakis wished she had thrown her vote away and cast it for Rubio. This is because Malliotakis never grew with her party or earnestly listened to her constituents’ concerns. She stubbornly dug in her heels through Trump’s rise, holding all of the same enmity as Democratic politicians and media figures did toward the president. She called him a sexist for his candid comments about women and a bigot for supporting a ban on unvetted Muslim immigrants, and she opposed him with a vow to be “#NEVERTRUMP” on social media. 

After she lost in overwhelming fashion to de Blasio (a pathetic feat given his polling figures among Democrats, Republicans, and independents), Malliotakis lay in wait for her next opening. She chose to reinvent herself as a pro-Trump Republican, leveraging inaccurate attacks from the liberal media against her character to bolster her credibility. Suddenly, Malliotakis was a proud Trump supporter, using the vote she regretted as political capital to fuel her campaign to the U.S. House. She unseated incumbent Max Rose, a conservative-leaning Democrat representing Staten Island, during last year’s election in New York’s 11th congressional district. 

“I voted for [Trump] in 2016. I am going to vote for him again. We are a ticket now. Am I going to agree with him all the time? Absolutely not. I am my own person,” Malliotakis said while campaigning last year, repeating this mantra as if she was trying to convince herself: “I am my own person.” 

President Trump, always a kind and forgiving man, gave her a shot and offered her his “full-fledged” endorsement. In the name of party unity, Trump has often extended the olive branch to many of his former enemies within the GOP and invited them to remain in the party fold. It could very well be his greatest failing as a leader; it has come back to bite him and the America First movement in countless instances, Malliotakis’ election being chief among them. 

“When I’m in Congress, President Trump will have a partner who will be a vocal advocate for improving security at our borders, making our neighborhoods safer, and continuing the strong economic growth our nation is seeing under his leadership,” Mallitokis lied before she was elected. 

America First activists in New York were not necessarily happy that Trump endorsed such a toxic and traitorous figure but certainly wanted radical Democrats destroyed during the elections. We gave Malliotakis a shot like Trump did, hoping that she could mirror Representative Elise Stefanik, the New York Republican lawmaker who has become a reliable pro-Trump ally in congressional leadership, or Representative Claudia Tenney, the New Yorker who won a tough congressional race mired with irregularities and then promptly formed the Election Integrity Caucus after being seated. Malliotakis is not cut from the same cloth as Stefanik or Tenney, and her actions as a freshman lawmaker make that reality abundantly clear. 

Malliotakis voted with Democrats to strip Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments because of media-generated controversies. While attacking the firebrand Greene and depriving her of influence, she fashioned her own “anti-socialist” version of the squad, a pitifully astroturfed attempt to make RINO moderates seem like they are on the cutting edge of populist GOP politics. These flunkies’ efforts have gained little traction as legitimate pro-Trump firebrands continue to dominate the headlines

Regarding the Biden regime, Malliotakis said she believes “there are opportunities for us to work together where there is some common ground” and that she would “hear him out.” The common ground turned out to be pillaging taxpayers for a so-called infrastructure bill that will primarily funnel money to left-wing causes, making a complete mockery of the notion that the Republicans are the fiscally responsible party that will stand firm against special interests in Washington, D.C.. 

Malliotakis joined Representatives Don Bacon of Nebraska, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Andrew Garbarino, John Katko, and Tom Reed of New York, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, David McKinley of West Virginia, Chris Smith and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, Fred Upton of Michigan and Don Young of Alaska on Friday to sell out her country. Now, the Democrats have gained a signature achievement, and Malliotakis is attempting to spin this as a victory because a handful of far-left congressmen opposed it—think bankrupting America to own the libs. 

Narcissistically self-aggrandizing as is her wont, Malliotakis claimed, “I weakened their hand. They have no leverage now. I voted against AOC and the Squad tonight,” she added. Such patent untruths are easily noted by her constituents, who reasonably see that Malliotakis was played into helping the Squad, which will now go back to its base with both tangible success and documented opposition to legislation lacking their wildest ideas. 

The extreme Left gets 80 to 90 percent of what it wants, the American people get scraps, and Malliotakis intends to celebrate this as a victory? This is wholly unacceptable. Malliotakis and the 12 others were nothing more than pawns in the Democrats’ intraparty game. 

The infrastructure bill is projected to cost taxpayers’ $1.2 trillion. Only $110 billion will be spent on actual infrastructure, with the rest going toward “Green New Deal” provisions, mass transit boondoggles, bizarre social and racial justice measures, and empowering federal regulators. Some media figures have followed Malliotakis’ lead in claiming great success with funding for quasi-infrastructure in Staten Island like an HOV lane and ferries. In reality, these items will likely never come to pass and, if they do, they will be over budget, behind schedule, and have little impact on her constituents’ lives. The bill is now sitting on Biden’s desk awaiting his signature, and the cowardice of Malliotakis and her RINO brethren is directly responsible for this colossal betrayal. 

Based on Malliotakis’ history as an anti-Trump liberal and despite her posturing to the contrary, her betrayal on the infrastructure bill is a bridge too far. This intolerable act cannot be forgiven or forgotten, whether in the name of party unity or any other platitude regularly tossed out to justify corruption. In the name of putting America first, the grassroots will recruit a primary challenger against Malliotakis in 2022, and she will become a one-term congresswoman.

Gavin Wax

Gavin Wax

Gavin Wax is the 76th President of the New York Young Republican Club, Chairman of the New York Republican Liberty Caucus, an Ambassador for Turning Point USA, and an Associate Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research. You can follow him on Twitter at @GavinWax.

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