With a 30 second ad three weeks before the Arizona primary election, American Focus PAC launches a handful of attacks on Lake, a former Fox 10 news anchor in Phoenix who is approved by former President Donald Trump.
The commercial’s unidentified narrator, dressed in drag and putting on makeup in front of a mirror, looks into the camera and says:
“A drag queen knows a fake when you see one. Like Kari Lake. She claims to be an ‘America-first’ Republican, but Barack Obama’s speeches ‘seduce’ her, and her liberal Supreme Court pick was a “really good judge”. She even defended Hillary Clinton’s emails. Ugh, politics. But when Kari attacked the drag queens, even though she considered us friends, walked into our bars, invited us to her home – now Miss Thing claims it never happened. This Lake Kari, she’s not just a fake. It’s an impostor.
American Focus PAC website contains only a brief description of the group, a donation button and the announcement, without contact details. The band also has no contact information on their YouTube. channel. We sent an email to a contact listing with the Federal Election Commission, but has not received a response.
We also emailed Lake’s campaign, but received no response.
Let’s examine each charge in the ad.
“Barack Obama’s speeches ‘passion her'”
The ad shows an image of an October 27, 2015, Tweeter by Lake which included a photo of Obama.
Lake wrote, “Enjoyed by #POTUS’ discourse on the relationship between law enforcement, crime and community. #BlueLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter.”
obama spoke that day at the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He tried to balance minority concerns about overly aggressive policing with an attempt to enlist the help of law enforcement to push for tougher federal gun control laws. according at the Chicago Tribune. NPR describe discourse as sympathetic to leaders.
Lake said Obama’s Supreme Court pick was a ‘very good judge’
In an excerpt In what appears to be Lake reporting from outside the White House, Lake used those words to describe Obama’s March 2016 nominee for Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. She said Obama’s message was that Garland was a “consensual” candidate.
“He’s someone you really can’t have qualms with,” Lake said in a 26-second clip posted to YouTube. “He’s a very good judge, he’s the Chief Justice of the United States Court of Appeals in the DC Circuit, and Republicans and Democrats have talked a lot about him. He has an impeccable resume.”
Lake interviewed Obama about his pick in May 2016. Obama said both Republicans and Democrats praised Garland’s experience and qualifications. In the interview, Lake did not express his opinion of Garland; she asked Obama questions.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., then Senate Majority Leader, blocked a Senate vote on Garland’s confirmation. The seat was later filled by a judge appointed by President Donald Trump.
“Defended Hillary Clinton emails”
Clinton exclusively used a private email address while serving as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 during the Obama administration. Some classified information ended up on his private server, which was an unclassified system. Clinton’s handling of her emails became a major issue during her 2016 presidential campaign.
We found five Lake tweets posted sharing headlines on Clinton emails; headlines did not declare support for Clinton, and Lake did not add a comment.
We found no other instances in which Lake referenced Clinton’s emails.
“Drag Queens Under Attack”
The announcement is broadcast on June 17, 2022, Tweeter Lake :
“They kicked God out of schools and welcomed drag queens. They took our flag down and replaced it with a rainbow. They seek to disarm Americans and militarize our enemies. Let’s bring back the basics: God, arms and glory.”
Some Republicans across the country, including in arizona, have called for laws prohibiting drag shows from being held in front of minors. The calls in Arizona followed reports of a May drag show at a Tucson high school, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
“Counted us as friends, walked into our bars, invited us to her house”
A longtime drag queen said he and Lake have been lifelong friends.
Richard Stevens, a well known Phoenix drag queen who plays Barbra Seville, responded to Lake’s June 17 tweet. In a June 18 Facebook posthe called Lake ‘a complete hypocrite’, adding: ‘I played for Kari’s birthday, played at her house, had kids in attendance, and played for her in some of the seediest bars from Phoenix. She came to my parties…” The post included photos of Lake with drag queens.
The announcement shows what appears to be footage posted to Lake’s Instagram account. One of these Instagram posts, dated December 1, 2014, appears to show Lake hanging out with Stevens. The caption read, “Half of what I learned about makeup I learned watching friends like @barbraseville.”
On June 27, Fox News anchor Brett Baier asked Lake if she wanted to speak to The Washington Post News. story about Lake attending Stevens’ shows for over 20 years and once hiring her to perform at her home. Fox showed photos of Lake with Stevens in drag. Lake said the story was untrue and she was “appalled that you brought it up.”
Lake’s campaign attorney served Stevens with a cease-and-desist letter demanding that he stop making certain claims about Lake and delete his June 18 Facebook post, the Arizona Republic reported. Stevens’ attorney responded with a letter saying that Stevens would not comply with Lake’s cease and desist request. Stevens’ post was still on Facebook on July 18.
Steve wrote on Twitter that he learned the identity of the narrator in the American Focus PAC ad, but did not reveal the person’s name.
Disable Governor Race
The Arizona primaries are on August 2.
Besides Lake, the other top Republican candidate is Karrin Taylor Robson, founder of a land-use strategy firm. Taylor Robson is endorsed by current Arizona limited-term governor, Republican Doug Ducey.
The leading Democratic candidates are Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez.
PolitiFact researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this article.
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