Dr. Kelli Ward and “Team Ward” will be on site at a rally held by President Donald Trump on Tuesday in Phoenix, Arizona, just days after Trump blasted out a tweet lauding Ward in her primary challenge to Sen. Jeff Flake.
It remains unclear whether Trump will cross the bridge to endorsing Ward after a tweet last week calling “Flake Jeff Flake” weak on borders, crime, a non-factor in the Senate and “toxic”:
Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He's toxic!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
Flake attempted to steer clear of commenting on the president during a East Valley Chambers of Commerce breakfast on Monday. CNN reported that his response to reporters’ questions about Trump’s tweet was, “I don’t worry about it at all.”
Ward responded to Trump’s tweet with her own gratitude for the president:
— Dr. Kelli Ward (@kelliwardaz) August 17, 2017
From January 2013 to December 2015, Ward, a practicing physician, served as an Arizona state senator from the state’s 5th district. She stepped down from her seat during her 2016 primary challenge against Sen. John McCain. Ward earned the highest percentage of votes against McCain of his primary challengers in recent years, but ultimately, McCain prevailed.
Ward is already facing vicious attacks similar to those she faced from McCain supporters as she has set out in her primary challenge to virulent Trump critic Flake for his seat in the U.S. Senate. Mere hours before Trump’s Tuesday rally in Phoenix, Sen. Mitch McConnell-linked Senate Leadership Fund released an ad attacking Ward including on a forum she held to address constituent concerns during her tenure as a state senator. The super-PAC is working with Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, the New York Times reported.
Ward told Fox & Friends on Monday that she and Team Ward would be on location at President Donald Trump’s rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday. She accused Flake of favoring open borders and amnesty in contrast to her position supporting building the wall along the southern border and stopping illegal immigration.
Ward spoke as a physician as she called the failure to repeal Obamacare “appalling.” She also referenced her track record in the Arizona State Senate as evidence that she will stick to her campaign promises should she be elected to the U.S. Senate:
On Sunday, the Ward campaign released a new ad targeting Flake, entitled “Arizona Deserves Better.” The ad calls out Flake for the anti-Trump remarks that the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign used in an anti-Trump campaign ad. It also featured Flake’s calling for Trump to withdraw from the 2016 presidential election, saying he would never win Arizona and vowing not to vote for the Republican nominee. The ad asks Flake why he is not working with the Trump administration on reforms that would create U.S. jobs, build the wall along the southern border, and repeal Obamacare.
In an early August op-ed for USA Today ,Ward wrote that Flake has thrown in with a few other Republicans and the radical left in an attempt to delegitimize President Trump. She slammed Flake for “trying to have it both ways” by bashing Trump in his newly released book while lobbying donors with claims of being with the president.
Ward’s chief strategist, Dustin Stockton, told Breitbart News, “What our team has been able to accomplish more than a year before the primary election is unprecedented.” He continued, “We’ve built all the best volunteer, communication, and fundraising infrastructure a modern campaign needs to win, but this race really boils down to one glaring contrast. Dr. Kelli truly wants to represent the people of Arizona. Flake, on the other hand, thinks that the people of Arizona are ignorant and just need to be educated by him and his fellow D.C. elitists.”
“We’ve been in the national media’s crosshairs nonstop for more than a month,” said Ward’s press secretary, Jennifer Lawrence. “The attacks from fake news have only served to rally people to our campaign. With every smear from places like CNN, our campaign only gets stronger. Dr. Kelli has enough respect for people to tell them the truth especially when it runs counter to the narratives the media hacks are pushing.”
“Jeff Flake thinks that if CNN and MSNBC are singing his praises, that he must be doing something right,” said Lawrence. “He’s in for a bad time when he says anything that doesn’t parrot their current narrative. His new friends are going to turn on him so fast, it’ll make his head spin.”
President Trump will tour U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border equipment in Yuma, Arizona, on Tuesday afternoon. He will then hold a meet and greet with Marines before going on to Phoenix for a campaign-style Make America Great Again rally.
Politico reported just last month that while backstage at a fall 2016 presidential campaign rally in Phoenix, Trump suggested he may be willing to spend $10 million of his own money to back a Flake primary challenger.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.