A Republican Senate candidate in Arizona tried to downplay the backlash she’s facing after announcing she was pairing up with right-wing personalities during an upcoming bus tour.
“I don’t really know what Mike Cernovich’s views are,” Kelli Ward told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on Sunday. “Mike Cernovich has an audience that we want to reach, and that includes Republicans, conservatives, liberals, Democrats, people of all ilks.”
Cernovich was one of the main promoters of the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, accusing a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant of running a pedophilia ring on behalf of Democrats including Hillary Clinton. The pizzeria received violent threats over the rumor, and a man fired a gun into the restaurant as he was reportedly “self-investigating” the theory.
When asked about Cernovich’s role in “Pizzagate,” Ward avoided the topic, merely stating that Clinton “would have been a terrible president.”
Ward announced Friday that she’d be making eight stops this week throughout Arizona. Other speakers on the tour include Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who recently shared a stage with far-right figures in support of anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson, as well as Rep. Steve King (Iowa), known for retweeting neo-Nazis and making bigoted comments.
“Like Dr. Ward, all of our guests, as well as national and state dignitaries, are strong on border security and supporters of the America First agenda,” a Ward spokesperson told the Phoenix New Times.