Republican Senate candidate Kelli Ward is headed on a statewide bus tour ahead of her Arizona primary next week — and she’s bringing Mike Cernovich with her.
Cernovich, who rose to social media fame in recent years, is known for promoting the so-called “men’s rights” movement and associating with white nationalists and white supremacists. Among other conspiracies, Cernovich has propagated Pizzagate, the (patently fake) theory that high-ranking Democratic officials and advisors were involved in a child sex ring, which ultimately led to a man firing an assault-style rifle in the Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant in December 2016.
Now, Cernovich is joining Ward in her last push ahead of the election.
Ward was confronted about those beliefs Sunday during an interview with MSNBC host Kasie Hunt. When asked by the host whether she shared Cernovich’s views, Ward said, “I don’t really know what Mike Cernovich’s views are. I know he’s got an audience and we want to serve everyone.”
She added, “I want to serve Republicans, I want to serve conservatives, independents, I want to serve people who aren’t political at all, and I want to serve those Democrats who are rejecting the radical left.”
Hunt noted that Cernovich had propagated the Pizzagate conspiracy and asked Ward if she believed “all of this nonsense that has been on the internet.” Ward ducked the question, saying the only thing she knew about Hillary Clinton is that she “would have been a terrible president.”
Hunt then asked Ward if she believed the Republican Party should embrace the “so-called alt-right.”
“You know, I think that the Republican Party and the people of the United States should embrace making America great again,” Ward responded. “…The alt-right, the alt-left, the radical left, the radical right […].”
After Hunt pressed her on the the so-called “alt-right” specifically, Ward siad she was “not a part” of the group, while simultaneously suggesting she didn’t know what the “alt-right” was.
“The alt-right has been generally described to encompass a variety of elements — if you watch the news — of people who sometimes espouse views of white nationalism, potentially white supremacy,” Hunt explained. “It is an umbrella term that covers many of these various lines of thinking, and I‘m wondering if that represents your campaign.”
With an unwavering smile, Ward said she thought attempts at tying her campaign to the far-right movement were “ridiculous,” and that her campaign represented “faith, family, and freedom.”
“So do you not want Mike Cernovich on your bus tour?” Hunt asked.
“Mike Cernovich has an audience we want to reach,” Ward said. “That includes Republicans, conservatives, liberals, Democrats, people of all ilks. If he’s coming on the bus tour, I think that he’ll have a voice and he’ll have something that he wants to say.”
Ward is locked in a competitive Republican primary with Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to replace Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who announced last October that he would not seek re-election this coming November.
Ward has made her name as a far-right immigration hardliner. Despite being staunchly pro-gun, in an interview with ThinkProgress earlier this year, she forgot when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred.