The president is reportedly “already signaling second thoughts over being too closely tied to Ward’s campaign.”
President Trump is having second thoughts about his decision to publicly praise Kelli Ward, the candidate who tried and failed to successfully challenge Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and is now challenging Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
In criticizing Flake, a longtime foe of the president, Trump praised Ward in a tweet, saying it was “Great to see” she was challenging Arizona’s junior senator.
Ward, a perpetuator of conspiracy theories, has made a series of poor judgment calls on the campaign trail already this year. Shortly after McCain announced he had been diagnosed with brain cancer, Ward told a conservative radio show host that she should be appointed to his seat as soon as possible.
Ward also sent out a fundraising email that prominently featured the shooting at a GOP congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. The email attacked Flake, who was on the field during that shooting.
Senate Leadership Fund, the super PAC aligned with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, put out a video ad this week hitting “Chemtrail Kelli Ward” for her belief in conspiracy theories and for blaming McCain for being “directly responsible” for the rise of ISIS.
During Trump’s visit to Arizona, The Daily Beast is reporting he refused to endorse or even meet with Ward at a rally. Instead, he reportedly met with three other potential Flake challengers:
The president huddled with Arizona Treasurer Jeff DeWit, former state GOP Chairman Robert Graham, and Rep. Trent Franks before the rally took place. Part of the conversation was geared toward feeling out whether Graham or DeWit, both early supporters of Trump during his campaign, would mount a challenge in the Republican Senate primary. Ward, notably, was not granted an audience with the president nor was she made a VIP at the event even as DeWit emceed the night’s proceedings.
To be sure, Trump will undoubtedly back one of these Flake challengers. And while it may not be Ward, the question remains: who will it be?
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