Snapping Alligators and Sharia Law: The Best of Kelli Ward's Facebook Live Q&A

Facebook commenters, meet your Make America Great Again candidate.

Ever wondered what's up with the United Nations? A global government project, according to Dr. Kelli Ward.

“I’d love to see the U.N. leave the United States, and maybe the U.S. leave the U.N.,” she said Monday during a Facebook Live question-and-answer session.

Worried about creeping Sharia jurisprudence?

“We can’t have separate systems of law for different classes of people," Ward explained. "I believe in equal justice under the law, not social justice.”

And, just in case it wasn't clear: “Taxation is theft, and socialism sucks.”

Ward, a Republican and fan of the #MAGA hashtag, is running in the Republican primary to unseat incumbent Republican Jeff Flake, who is up for re-election in 2018. Flake is considered vulnerable to a Democratic challenger, but in Trumpian circles, he is something of a pet peeve, too.

Politico reported on Monday that since taking office, President Trump has spoken to Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit as someone who could unseat Flake. White House officials have also been in touch with Ward recently, the report says, along with former Arizona Republican Party chairman Robert Graham.

Trump is nothing if not unconventional. Even so, a Republican president endorsing a challenger to oust a Republican senator could seen as a major faux pas in light of Senate decorum. Then again, Flake declined to endorse Trump during the 2016 campaign and remained something of a holdout on the Senate's alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

Ward, a former state senator, lost her primary challenge to Senator John McCain in 2016, a race in which she was roundly criticized for an attack on the senator's age and a 2014 meeting where she acknowledged constituent concerns about chemtrails — the conspiracy theory that says those exhaust trails behind airplanes are actually a government weather-control plot, or perhaps some form of psychological manipulation.

Ward held a live, town hall-style Q&A on Facebook to discuss Flake and much, much more Monday. And of course, because it’s Facebook, there were some gems from the “drain-the-swamp” crowd who emerged to question Ward.

Ward said it's important to her to speak directly to the people, "snapping alligators" and all.

"It’s as though there’s a moat surrounding our elected officials, and that moat is filled with snapping alligators, and it's designed to keep we, the represented, away from the people that are supposed to be representing us. And I want to break that down. I want to put a bridge — actually, I want to fill in the whole moat, get rid of that swamp, fill it all in, and put us in the right direction."

A Twitter user, @MidwestViews, wasn't afraid to lob this one early in the livestream: “Honest, not intended to be rude question: You lost badly to seemingly unpopular Senator John McCain. Why are you ideal candidate 2 yrs later?”

“I’m sorry, @MidwestViews, you’re a little bit confused. I really didn’t lose badly to Senator McCain. Now, obviously I didn’t win, so, you know, there is that. He is — and was — very unpopular. Another reason to look into how our voter integrity is, I guess!”

On repealing the Affordable Care Act, Ward said there are plenty of great places to go for care if you don't have health insurance — like the emergency room.

"Let's clear up a misconception: Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats would love for people to think that people are going to be dying in the streets because they're not going to have health care. Guess what? Before Obamacare came along, we had a safety net in place. We had places where people could go if they truly needed health care and they didn't have a primary care doctor or someone else to take care of them. We have community health centers. Community health centers are spread throughout this country and their mission is to take care of the underinsured and uninsured — the truly poor people of our country ... and we also have an instrumental part of our safety net: our emergency department."

"So, people will not be dying in the streets. They will be getting health care when they need it. So, don’t be fearful. Don't be fearful of repealing big government health care in exchange for health care that will give us what we want, what we need, and what we deserve. And that means the free market."

Of course, Sharia was a topic of conversation.

“Sharia law is not compatible with the U.S. Constitution. You have to leave it at that. We can’t have separate systems of law for different classes of people. I believe in equal justice under the law, not social justice.”

Not to mention the ever-present boogeyman of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"We are going to fight the Muslim Brotherhood, we are going to expose them that they are a part of a wide-ranging terrorist organization. And I’m glad that Donald Trump is finally putting his foot down, and he's fearless in saying that we are going to fight against Islamic terror."

The disembodied voice of an aide asked about the United Nations in response to a commenter.

"I’m not a big fan of the United Nations. I think that the U.N. is designed around creating more of a global government rather than national sovereignty across the world. I’d love to see the U.N. leave the United States, and maybe the U.S. leave the U.N."

One commenter, Ryan, gave Ward a softball: "In your opinion, do you think taxation is theft?"

“Yes, taxation is theft. Taxation is theft, and socialism sucks. I am a big fan of Turning Point USA, and they’re doing great work with informing our millennial generation about just what government interference in our lives leads to down the road. So, yes, taxation is theft, especially whenever the government is not utilizing the money that we send to them to do the jobs that are constitutionally enumerated to the federal government, but instead taking that money and spreading it around into programs that don’t have anything to do with the role that the federal government is supposed to play."

What about guns?

“I am a proud supporter of the Second Amendment — lifetime member of the NRA, A+ rating when I was serving in the Legislature. I sponsored the Second Amendment Protection Act every year that I was in the Arizona State Senate. It went a little bit further each year but unfortunately, again, we’ll talk about those squishy middle Republicans, who like to say, 'I believe in the Constitution, but …’ They always have a 'but.' I always say, ‘Don’t be a butt; get on the stick and support the Constitution.'"

Ward also defended SB 1070 and its architects when asked about sanctuary cities.

“In Arizona, we passed a bill called SB 1070 that was designed to allow Arizona to enforce the federal laws that the federal government was not enforcing. And then we were called out on that. People like Senator Russell Pearce and Sheriff Joe Arpaio were demonized by the left and by the media because of our endeavors in our state to protect our sovereignty and to put America first. Before putting America first was cool, Arizona was doing it.”

It wouldn't be a #MAGA Q&A if there weren't some good-natured bashing of the fake news media. Joshua wanted to know, "Why is the Republic newspaper so liberal lately?"

“Why is the Republic so liberal? You would think with the decline — they’ve had such a huge decline in their readership over time, you would think that they'd get the message. But instead, they double down, just like Democrats do on everything that’s failing. 'If something's failing, you should do more of it!' That seems to be the Democrat way. The editorialists and the opinion writers at the Republic are definitely on the left side of the spectrum, for the most part. Robert Robb is kind of more middle-of-the-road Republican. But the others — when you read the things that they write, I hope everybody out there will take it with a grain of salt, because they definitely have an agenda."

Just in case viewers weren't sure if this was the authentic Ward, toward the end of the Q&A, the candidate reassured them.

"Send me a message, I'll give you an answer, because the things I say to you here on camera are the same things that I say to people whenever I write them messages."
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Joseph Flaherty is a staff writer at New Times. Originally from Wisconsin, he is a graduate of Middlebury College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Contact: Joseph Flaherty

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