Former Democratic President Barack Obama criticized former Republican President Donald Trump as he urged prospective voters not to support Trump-endorsed Kari Lake, an election denier who is the Republican nominee in Arizona's gubernatorial election.
Remarking about Lake, Obama said that if the United States "hadn’t just elected someone whose main qualification was being on TV, you could see maybe giving it a shot," a clear reference to Trump, who was known as a reality television star to much of the general public before he took office.
Obama said that voters now know "the worst that could happen" because Trump's tenure showed that it "doesn’t just work out just because somebody’s been on TV.”
He recalled being interviewed by Lake years ago when she still worked as a journalist and suggested that she must have "found it convenient" to push baseless claims about COVID-19 remedies and election fraud in her bid to get elected.
You can hear what Obama said in the video below.
Obama's assessment of Lake is spot on.
Lake has been endorsed by former President Trump, whose falsehoods about the integrity of the 2020 general election she has continued to parrot. She has called for imprisoning Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs on baseless and unspecified allegations of criminality related to the 2020 election.
Earlier this year, Lake described herself as a "Trump candidate," aligning herself with him and his lies to further her own candidacy. She has long backed the insurrectionists who attacked the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 on the false premise the election had been stolen.
Lake has attracted support from right-wing extremists, appearing with a Nazi sympathizer and QAnon-linked activists at campaign events.
Before entering politics, Lake worked at Phoenix television station KSAZ-TV for 22 years, a role from which she stepped down last year ahead of her gubernatorial run. During her time as the network's evening anchor, she interviewed Obama in 2016 and Trump in 2020, around the time he was insisting to his followers that that year's general election would be rife with fraud and abuse.
Lake has been accused of running a political campaign for the sole purpose of grifting her supporters, behavior for which Trump—who openly violated the Constitution's Emoluments Clause while in office—has continued to face criticism as he continues to solicit his supporters for donations so he can pay his mounting legal fees.
Many have echoed and agreed with Obama's criticisms of both Lake and Trump.
Obama has been making the rounds in the days before the midterms in an effort to build momentum for the Democratic Party, which media projections and polls suggest will lose congressional control to Republicans.
He made headlines this week for his pitch to Georgia voters to not vote for Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, a former pro football player who is running for office despite having no political experience.
Obama asked Georgia voters to consider whether Walker is actually "the best person to represent you in the U.S. Senate," adding that Walker is ill-equipped "to weigh in on the critical decisions about our economy and our foreign policy and our future."