First there was Alabama fundamentalist Roy Moore, who in an interview Wednesday claimed NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem are breaking the law. Now Manslug Steve Bannon has settled on conspiracy theorist Kelli Ward as Jeff Flake’s challenger in next year’s GOP primary. This is what a “real conservative” looks like in 2017:
Like Trump, she has a tendency to amplify fringe ideas. At a 2013 legislative hearing, she suggested that the Affordable Care Act was part of a plot to relocate rural Americans to urban areas by lowering the quality of rural health clinics. In 2014, she traveled to Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch in a show of solidarity with his standoff against the Bureau of Land Management, and later she called the protest—at which protesters trained rifles at federal agents—a “family-friendly” gathering.
And then there are the chemtrails, the streaks left in the sky by aircraft, which conspiracy theorists believe contain chemical or biological agents. Mohave County is home to a high density of such believers, and Ward once did an hourlong radio interview with one of them in which they discussed the possible presence of Russian or Chinese helicopters in Phoenix. (“I would rather for people to be prepared and ready,” Ward said, cryptically.) In 2014, she held a hearing to listen to constituent concerns about chemtrails, and left open the possibility that she would introduce legislation on the matter.