Kelli Ward distances herself from Bannon and Arpaio

Kelli Ward Steve Bannon camerota newday_00000000
Kelli Ward Steve Bannon camerota newday_00000000

    JUST WATCHED

    Kelli Ward: I'm distancing myself from Bannon

MUST WATCH

Kelli Ward: I'm distancing myself from Bannon 01:42

Story highlights

  • The former Breitbart chief has fallen of favor with the White House and many Republicans
  • Arpaio raised doubts about President Barack Obama's birth certificate

(CNN)Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward, a Republican, distanced herself Thursday from former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and her primary opponent, controversial former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

"I am distancing myself from Steve Bannon. He's made some significant mistakes, significant gaffes that are unacceptable to me. I support the President. I support the President's family," she told CNN's "New Day," referring to Bannon.
The former Breitbart chief fell out of favor with the White House and many Republicans after he criticized members of President Donald Trump's family in Michael Wolff's book "Fire and Fury."
    Ward pushed back when asked by CNN's Alisyn Camerotta about Bannon's previous endorsement of her campaign.
    "He was never part of my campaign. He was never an adviser. I mean, he's not somebody that I reach out and talk to in any way, shape or form. It's funny that you, and especially the establishment, would love to tie me to Steve Bannon."
    The Republican candidate also downplayed Bannon's endorsement earlier this week after news broke that the former White House chief strategist has left his post at Breitbart, to which he returned after he left the White House.
    "Steve Bannon is only one of many high-profile endorsements Dr. Ward has received," a spokesman posted on Twitter at the time.
    Ward was also asked about controversial comments made by Arpaio to CNN on Wednesday that former President Barack Obama's birth certificate is "phony."
    "I believe that Barack Obama was born here, that he was our legitimate President," Ward said, but proceeded to criticize Obama's "illegitimate" policies.
    Arpaio told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "Cuomo Prime Time" Wednesday night that there was "no doubt" that Obama's birth certificate was "phony."
    Even though Ward distanced herself from one of Arpaio's most controversial views, she said that the people of Arizona want someone who is strong on securing the border and that Arpaio has a strong record.
    "He has fought for the rule of law here in Arizona and that's what people are looking for," Ward said, but added that she would also fight for securing the border.
    Arpaio announced Tuesday that he is running for the US Senate seat from Arizona currently occupied by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring from Congress at the end of his term.
    Trump pardoned Arpaio in August, sparing him a jail sentence after the former sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt related to his hard-line tactics going after undocumented immigrants.
    Ward brushed off Arpaio's conviction, pointing out that "he was pardoned by the President."