(PatriotWise.com)- A former officer with the CIA recently announced that he will challenge incumbent Republican Representative Elise Stefanik in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.
Democrat Matt Castelli declared his candidacy recently, hoping to unseat Stefanik, who represents the 21st Congressional District in New York.
In a video he posted to announce he is running, Castelli said Stefanik has betrayed her oath of office to protect the Constitution. She did this during the attacks on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, when many supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the building while Congress was certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.
As Castelli said in his video:
“It hasn’t been lost on me that Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and I took the same oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. But it’s clear to me, and countless other Americans, that she violated her oath that day. And in the weeks and months that followed.”
In a tweet that included his embedded video, Castelli wrote:
“As a CIA and White House counterterrorism official, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. @EliseStefanik took that same oath. But she violated it on Jan. 6th. Now I’m running for Congress to defeat her and uphold mine.”
Stefanik has been a member of Congress since 2015. She drew a lot of notoriety, and a lot of ire from Democrats, when she defended Trump during the impeachment proceedings against the former president earlier in 2021.
In the spring, Stefanik also took on a prominent position within the Republican caucus, when she was chosen to replace Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney as the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference. That is the third-highest ranking among House GOP members.
In his video, Castelli said Stefanik has been seeking to divide the United States for “her own personal gain.” Then, he went too far when he tried to compare the Capitol riot to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 — a move that Alex DeGrasse, a senior adviser to Stefanik, said was “disgraceful.”
DeGrasse further said that the fact that Castelli made those comments at all shows that he’s completely out of touch with the needs of those people who live in the district he’s seeking to represent.
In response, DeGrasse released a statement that said:
“Candidates that compare January 6 to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 that killed thousands of Americans are fundamentally not serious and deeply out of touch with North Country values. There is plenty of time for politics in the months ahead for the grueling and crowded Democrat primary in New York’s 21st District, the week of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 is not that time.”
Castelli served almost 15 years for the CIA. He also worked at the National Security Council as a director of counterterrorism between 2016 and 2018. He served as an official on counterterrorism in the White House under both former Presidents Barack Obama and Trump.