Tensions between former president Donald Trump and Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake have been simmering for months, threatening Republican unity in a key battleground state.

Though he once joked about her unwavering loyalty, Trump has grown frustrated with Lake’s frequent presence at his Mar-a-Lago resort and has openly questioned whether she can win the general election. After Lake released a recording embarrassing the state GOP chairman, forcing his resignation, Trump was surprised she would go to such lengths.

Trump’s Soft Spot for Kari Lake

Trump has long had a soft spot for Kari Lake, joking that the Senate candidate would pivot to his false claims about election fraud even when asked about the weather.

Source: Joshua Lott

However, since Lake entered the race, Trump has voiced doubts about her chances and annoyance over her frequent visits to Mar-a-Lago.

Trump Skeptical About Lake’s Senate Chances

Despite Trump’s early support and endorsement of Lake, privately, he has become increasingly skeptical and annoyed with her political ambitions and frequent presence at his Florida club.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

According to several of Trump’s close confidants, the former president has expressed doubt that Lake can win the Arizona Senate race, worrying she may drag down his poll numbers in the crucial battleground state.

Trump Annoyed by Lake’s Frequent Mar-a-Lago Visits

Donald Trump has grown increasingly frustrated with Kari Lake’s frequent visits to his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago.

Source: The Mar-a-Lago Club

According to several sources close to the former president, Trump has complained for months that Lake spends too much time at the resort and not enough time campaigning in Arizona.

Trump Privately Questions if Lake Can Win Senate Seat

Though Trump and Lake remain publicly aligned, Trump’s private misgivings about her political prospects and frustration with her frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago could signal emerging tensions in their relationship.

Source: Britannica

If Trump sours on Lake as a candidate, it may weaken her chances in November and damage the GOP’s hopes of retaking the Senate.

Lake Alienate Some AZ Republicans During Governor Bid

During her campaign, Lake spurned followers of the late Senator John McCain, a moderate Republican, which angered some in the party.

Source: Flickr

According to three people familiar with the reaction, Trump was surprised when told Lake had released a recording of then-Arizona GOP Chairman Jeff DeWit encouraging her to stay out of the Senate race, which embarrassed DeWit and led to his resignation.

Kari Lake’s Shifting Stance on Enforcing the Abortion Ban

Kari Lake initially urged Republican lawmakers to repeal Arizona’s 19th-century abortion ban after the state Supreme Court revived it this month.

Source: AP

Lake joined Trump in claiming the unpopular law should be neutralized to avoid becoming a campaign issue. However, Lake has since criticized state officials for not enforcing the ban.

Trump and Lake’s Rocky Relationship Over McCain Republicans

Despite Trump’s initial support of Lake, their relationship has been strained at times over her attacks on McCain Republicans.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

When Lake urged these centrist Republicans to “get the hell out” of the GOP, Trump grew concerned it could alienate voters and hurt his standing.

Lake’s False Claims About the 2020 and 2022 Elections

Kari Lake has continued to spread misinformation about the legitimacy of the 2020 and 2022 elections in Arizona despite no evidence to support these claims.

Source: Facebook

Her insistence on perpetuating the “big lie” about election fraud poses a threat to democracy and undermines faith in the system.

Concerns Within the GOP Over Lake’s Electability

While some Republicans argue that Kari Lake and Trump will prop up each other in the election by appealing to conservative voters, others in the party privately worry Lake may struggle against Rep. Ruben Gallego.

Source: Bloomberg Government

They fear Lake has alienated too many centrist Republicans with her claims that the 2020 and 2022 elections were stolen.

Lake’s Efforts to Present Herself as a Team Player

To overcome perceptions that she is too extreme or divisive to win a general election, Lake has made efforts to portray herself as a team player who can work with the GOP establishment.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to those familiar with her conversations, Lake has argued to Senate leadership advisors that she is eager to campaign for other Republicans around the country and help the party as a whole.

Fundraising and Stumping for Others

Lake has said she wants to demonstrate her value to the party by fundraising and stumping for other Republican candidates in competitive races.

Source: LinkedIn

Some in the GOP hope this strategy will soften her image and show she can be a constructive force. “I think traveling around and helping people in other states is a really smart move for her,” said one Republican strategist.

Riling Up Democrats

Lake and Trump’s rhetoric and attempts to overturn the 2020 election results have fired up Democrats and progressives in opposition.

Source: Dictoary.com

Democratic groups are already pouring money into the state to defeat Lake, framing her as an “extremist” threat to democracy.

Lake and Trump Tapping Into the Conservative Grassroots

Lake and Trump continue to tap into the conservative grassroots in Arizona by promoting issues like border security and election integrity that resonate with their base.

Source: The Cairo Review of Global Affairs

Some Republicans argue this connection with the grassroots will lift them both. According to Sen. Rick Scott, “I think Trump’s going to win Arizona. And so she’ll win, too. I think they’ll help each other.”

Lake and Trump Remain Close

Despite concerns, Kari Lake and Donald Trump remain closely aligned in their messaging as they aim to lift each other to victory in Arizona in 2024.

Source: Antranik Tavitian

While some Republicans privately worry Lake’s extreme stances could backfire, others argue her grassroots appeal mirrors Trump’s and will mobilize conservatives.