NBC News correspondent Vaughn Hillyard offered a lengthy rant against Republican Kari Lake Tuesday after it was projected she would lose the Arizona governor’s race.
After news broke of Lake’s loss at the hands of Democrat Katie Hobbs, Hillyard joined “Morning Joe” from Palm Beach, Florida, where he asked if he could “say something” about the defeated GOP candidate he covered on the campaign trail.
“Would that be OK?” he asked.
Hillyard said that following her around the state was like covering a hypothetical 2024 presidential run for Donald Trump. He said that like Trump, Lake predicated her candidacy on “the big lie” and conspiracy theories.
“When she wonders how she lost this race—look at it,” Hillyard said. “This is the third election cycle in a row in which Arizonans rejected Trumpism.”
According to the NBC News correspondent, in the last months of her election, Lake campaigned alongside a chief promoter of Pizzagate, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, disseminators of a conspiracy involving an impending “war on White people,” and State Sen. Wendy Rodgers, who was pictured speaking at a White nationalist conference in Florida earlier this year.
“This is an individual who just last week called her Democratic opponent a pervert, this is an individual who suggested there should be perp walks for election officials, criminal charges against individuals who oversaw COVID responses in 2020 in Arizona,” he added.
Hillyard continued on, saying Lake claimed that John McCain’s widow Cindy McCain was trying to “end America,” called MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and political commentator Dinesh D’Souza some of the greatest American patriots of all time, and labeled the media the “right hand of the devil” as well as the “scourge of the Earth.”
Meghan McCain and others noted after her loss that Lake attacked “McCain Republicans” in the waning days of the race; the late John McCain served Arizona in the U.S. Senate for 31 years before his death in 2018, and the state had been red in presidential election cycles since 1996 before Trump lost it in 2020 to Joe Biden.
“If that doesn’t sound like Donald Trump, I don’t know what does,” Hillyard added.
Hillyard’s speech was praised by anti-Trump voices on Twitter, with figures like MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan and fomer GOP congressman Joe Walsh saying he was spot-on.
Lake is a former TV news anchor who stepped down last year after 22 years with the Fox affiliate in Phoenix to run for governor. Thanks in part to her strong support for Trump and his unproven claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” and rigged,” Trump endorsed Lake as she narrowly won the GOP nomination over a candidate backed by term-limited Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, R.
Hobbs, a former social worker who later served in the Arizona state House and state Senate, was elected Secretary of State in 2018. Hobbs gained national attention for defending Arizona’s election results — it was one of a handful of states where now-President Biden narrowly edged Trump — as the then-president unsuccessfully tried to overturn the results.
Fox News’ Braford Betz and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.