It was about a week ago when Kari Lake said she had uncovered “some really painful, hurtful news” about her Democratic opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, that would presumably shake up their gubernatorial race. “My team is triple-confirming its true,” the Republican wrote on Twitter. “Tomorrow I will be releasing. Bad stuff!”
A day later, after the apparent triple-confirmation, the far-right candidate dropped her political bombshell: Hobbs, claimed Lake, fought to keep the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution out of Arizona’s public school classrooms.
The Republican seemed quite excited about the apparent revelation, releasing a video that went on and on about Lake’s patriotism and Hobbs’ outrageous record, complete with on-screen evidence. There was, however, one big problem:
Lake got the story wrong. As The Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts explained, the only thing the GOP candidate proved was that “Kari Lake doesn’t know how to read a bill.”
In 2018, the Arizona Legislature passed a bill addressing various American history materials that can be read or posted in Arizona’s classrooms. State law already allowed the pledge, the anthem, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and yes, even the Mayflower Compact to be read or posted, along with various other foundational documents. Senate Bill 1289 simply added the state motto (“Ditat Deus,” or God Enriches) to that list and clarified the wording of the already approved national motto (“In God We Trust”).
Democratic legislators, including Hobbs, balked at the idea of pushing religion in public school classrooms, but even a rudimentary review of the proposal shows that it would not have pushed the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem, the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution out of schools.
The entire line of attack was the result of an apparent mistake by the Lake campaign. The Arizona Republic’s columnist added that the GOP candidate continued to insist that she was right, pointing to two other legislative measures, but “neither had anything to do with posting the pledge, etc., in classrooms.”
Chuck Coughlin, a Republican strategist in Arizona, expressed surprise about the blunder. “It’s disappointing that somebody that’s running for governor can’t read state statute, especially for someone who claimed they triple-checked their facts,” he said.
Wes Gullett, who served as chief of staff to former Republican Gov. Fife Symington, said of Lake’s mistake, “That’s why we have campaigns, because we see if people are qualified to be governor. Reading bills is a qualification of being governor. You have to know what a bill says, how a bill changes, how a bill becomes a law. Those are fundamentals that Kari Lake doesn’t understand.”
What makes a story like this one especially damaging is the broader circumstances in this race: Lake is a former local television anchor who has never held elected office at any level. She’s nevertheless telling voters that she’s ready to be governor and oversee the executive branch of a large and growing state.
It was against this backdrop that the Republican said she and her team were “triple-confirming” a claim to confirm its accuracy, only to fail to notice that the allegation was wrong.