Trump’s Pick to Run Arizona Wants to ‘Sledgehammer’ the ‘Communist’ Media

“I’m ready to take a sledgehammer to the corrupt media,” former local news reporter Kari Lake pledged in her first campaign ad for governor.
Cameron Joseph
Washington, US
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally.
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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Former President Donald Trump sure knows how to pick ’em.

Trump’s newly endorsed candidate for Arizona governor, former local news reporter Kari Lake, just put out a new ad that attacks her old profession while taking a literal sledgehammer to old-timey television sets.

“It’s time to take a sledgehammer to the mainstream media’s lies and propaganda. The corporate media establishment flat-out lies to people. It’s right out of a communist playbook,” Lake says in her debut ad, as a sledgehammer smashes TVs showing clips of CNN anchors Brian Stelter, Don Lemon, and Chris Cuomo. “I’m ready to take a sledgehammer to the corrupt media, to destroy the corrupt cronyism that’s been in Arizona far too long, and to take a sledgehammer to these weak border policies that are ruining our state.”


It’s a somewhat surprising opening message from a woman who was, until just a few months ago, a local TV news anchor. Lake worked at Fox’s Phoenix affiliate for the past 25 years, interviewing Trump in 2020 and President Obama in 2016. 

Lake has an unusual political history: She was long registered as a Republican but donated to Democrat John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004, left the GOP in 2006 and switched her voter registration to the Democratic Party in 2008, the day after then-candidate Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses. She re-registered as a Republican in 2012.

But even as she worked as a reporter, Lake began pushing conspiracy theories about voting fraud in Arizona. During the hotly contested 2018 midterms, Lake uncritically retweeted someone claiming they’d received their ballot already filled out, implying that voting fraud was taking place in the state. In 2020, she shared videos that pushed false information about COVID.

In recent months, she’s gone all-in for Trump and his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, while embracing Arizona’s hard-right activist culture. 

Lake has led anti-mask protests in the state, pledging to pardon anyone given a ticket for not wearing a mask at Arizona State University even though she wouldn’t have that power as governor. She also appeared at MyPillow owner Mike Lindell’s bonkers South Dakota symposium that sought to prove that widespread voting fraud blocked the election from Trump, and has touted an endorsement from former Trump adviser Michael Flynn, a leading figure in the election conspiracy movement. 


Lake recently said that if she had been governor in 2020 she would not have certified President Biden’s victory in Arizona—a move that could have set off a constitutional crisis. If she wins the gubernatorial election next year, she could very well cause that kind of chaos in the 2024 elections.

“There is no way forward—until we deal with the election of 2020,” she tweeted Monday, retweeting a fringe Arizona state senator who called for a 50-state audit of the 2020 elections.

Trump endorsed her last week, saying that she “will fight to restore Election Integrity (both past and future!).”

She’s not the only Arizona candidate who’s pushed false claims about the 2020 election that Trump is backing: He’s also endorsed QAnon-touting state Rep. Mark Finchem to be Arizona’s secretary of state.

One thing Lake doesn’t want to smash?

“I will never take a sledgehammer to that big, beautiful wall,” she pledges in the ad.

Peter Gabriel did it better.