Trump Is Souring On Kari Lake

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MESA, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 09: Former U.S. President Donald Trump embraces Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake at a campaign rally at Legacy Sports USA on October 09, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona. Trump was stu... MESA, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 09: Former U.S. President Donald Trump embraces Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake at a campaign rally at Legacy Sports USA on October 09, 2022 in Mesa, Arizona. Trump was stumping for Arizona GOP candidates ahead of the midterm election on November 8. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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The Washington Post published a new story Monday revealing that Donald Trump has all but ruled out choosing Arizona Senate candidate and election denier Kari Lake as his running mate, despite months of speculation that she may be one of his top choices for VP. And his reason for souring on the loyal MAGA extremist is about as Trumpian as it gets.

I initially clicked on the story because I was curious about whether Trump’s shifting perspective on Lake might have something to do with her recent flip-flopping on Arizona’s draconian, Civil War-era abortion ban. Both Lake and Trump came out against the old law when the state Supreme Court upheld it earlier this month, putting into force one of, if not the most, extreme bans in the nation. This was just days after Trump issued a wishy-washy statement on his own abortion position. At the time, Lake also seemed to be moderating her abortion stance heading into the general election. But in recent weeks, Lake has been saying things that make it sound a whole heck of a lot like she actually does support the state Supreme Court’s decision reinstituting the old, draconian ban.

The WaPo article, however, doesn’t touch on any potential rift between Trump and Lake that may have grown out of that messaging, or any actual political issue. Instead, it reports, Trump is concerned that Lake can’t win the Senate race in Arizona — primarily because she is spending too much time hanging out at his Mar-a-Lago resort and not enough time in Arizona campaigning.

Per WaPo:

But since Lake jumped into the race, Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about her political prospects in a state he sees as key to his bid to return to the White House, and has shown annoyance with her frequent presence at his Florida resort, according to five people close to him, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe his comments.

At one point last year, after grumbling for months that she was at his Mar-a-Lago Club too often, Trump gently suggested to Lake that she should leave the club and hit the campaign trail in Arizona, according to a person with direct knowledge of his comments. Trump has also asked others if she can really win in Arizona and if she might drag down his own poll numbers as he seeks the presidency again in 2024, advisers said.

The piece is largely focused on Republican irritation with Lake spending so much time outside of her state while running in a very tight race. Her opponent, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), has, embarrassingly for Lake, visited the border more times than Lake since she announced her campaign, suggesting Lake might be insufficiently preoccupied with immigration — one of the seven deadly sins for a MAGA Republican.

But the real motivation for Trump’s distancing might be a detail tucked into a section of the WaPo piece recounting the drama that ensued last January, when a Lake associate released a recording of the state’s former Republican Party Chairman Jeff DeWit urging Lake to stay out of the Senate race.

For a former and potential future president who tends to do coups when he’s not getting his way and who, allegedly, breaks the law simply out of habit, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume this is the dealbreaker for him as he’s considering who he wants as a friend:

Trump was more surprised than angry when told about the January incident, according to three people familiar with his reaction. “She tapes everything?” he asked, sitting in a New Hampshire hotel suite before taking the stage on the night he won that state’s primary. “That’s good to know.”

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