'No peace': The Kari Lake-Meghan McCain feud is escalating quickly. Here's how

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U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake tried to defuse a renewed battle over the late Sen. John McCain Wednesday with a social-media message to Meghan McCain suggesting they are both mothers who lost fathers to cancer. But the younger McCain made clear there still will be "no peace."

Lake suggested Monday in an interview with KTAR (92.3 FM) that her disparaging words about John McCain were said in jest and at a time when Republican rival Karrin Taylor Robson was attacking her in their contested 2022 gubernatorial primary.

Meghan McCain responded Tuesday with a social media post that said Lake’s comments reflected a sense that she can’t win her current Senate race without making peace with McCain loyalists. Meghan McCain then said, “No peace, b----.”

Ahead of that, Lake wrote a lengthy tweet Wednesday before 5 a.m. calling for them to meet and trying to highlight potential common ground.

U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake answers questions during a press conference on Feb. 7, 2024, at her headquarters in Phoenix.
U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake answers questions during a press conference on Feb. 7, 2024, at her headquarters in Phoenix.

"As mothers, (both with two kiddos) I’m know we both agree that our children’s future is too important to let it slip away over past grudges or hurt feelings," Lake wrote. "That’s why I’m working hard to unite Republicans, Independents, Democrats — ALL Americans."

Her message didn’t include an apology for her repeated attacks on John McCain, who died of brain cancer in 2018, but said she wanted to make him and her father, Larry Lake, who also died of cancer, proud.

"I value you. I value your family and I value the passion you have for our state," Lake said to Meghan McCain. "I’d love nothing more than to buy you a beer, a coffee or lunch and pick your brain about how we can work together to strengthen our state."

Hours later, Meghan McCain responded in all capital letters, “No peace, b----!”

Meghan McCain on 'The View' in 2018.
Meghan McCain on 'The View' in 2018.

For Lake, the episode prolongs and makes public a common criticism she has received in her apparently failed efforts to win over support from former foes. Republicans familiar with Lake’s outreach to people like Taylor Robson, the McCains and former Gov. Doug Ducey have said those efforts didn’t include apologies.

In a 10-minute interview on KTAR on Wednesday, Meghan McCain said she viewed Lake’s outreach Wednesday as borne of Lake’s poor standing with voters and, in Trumpian fashion, indifferent to the personal pain inflicted on her family.

“This is very deeply personal,” she said. “I am 39 years old, and I just don’t want to live in this world where Trump and his minions like Kari Lake think that it is funny or not deeply hurtful and impactful to many people when you continue to desecrate my dad in death. … It never stops being painful.”

Meghan McCain said Lake did not comment about her father in jest, as Lake asserted Monday.

“It’s not a joke. I used to work on 'Saturday Night Live.' I know what a joke is,” she said. As for Lake’s offer of a beer or coffee, Meghan McCain ruled that out.

“We’re not friends and we have nothing in common,” she said. McCain indicated her election preference, saying, “Sinema 2024.”

Lake rhetorically set fire to the GOP establishment during her 2022 run. Now she is the Republican front-runner in the race for the seat held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., but her sharp comments from the past are trailing her again, none more than her many attacks on John McCain, who won six terms in the Senate and carried the state in his 2008 presidential run.

Among her attacks on John McCain, Lake asked a crowd, “We don’t have any McCain Republicans in here, do we? Get the hell out!”

She said the GOP “was the party of McCain. It was bad. Arizona has delivered some losers, haven’t they?”

In another broadside after winning the GOP nomination in 2022, Lake said, “We drove a stake through the heart of the McCain machine.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., the only prominent Democrat running for the Senate seat, pounced on Lake’s inadvertent detour into intraparty insults.

On Wednesday, he tweeted a video with Lake’s many statements disparaging McCain. It overlooks his own critical comments about McCain, and hints at his own need to expand his appeal beyond left-leaning voters.

By contrast, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, who is challenging Lake for the GOP nomination, has remained publicly silent on the matter of Lake’s feud with Meghan McCain. It is in keeping with a relatively low-profile campaign approach that continues to hammer on his interest in tightening America’s border with Mexico.

For her part, Sinema, who has not publicly said whether she will seek a second term, ignored the unfolding spectacle, as she has usually done throughout the past year.

Lake sought to change the subject on social media, posting a segment of her appearing on the conservative network Newsmax in which she declared she is “unapologetically America first” in a reminder that she is, as always, standing by former President Donald Trump, who feuded with John McCain for years and continued to criticize him after McCain’s death.

But for a third straight day, Lake remained on the hot seat over her past remarks.

On Monday, Lake said she jokingly derided McCain a year before the 2022 election.

She said that at the time she was taking “nuclear bomb-style incoming, tens of millions of dollars in attack ads from a McCain Republican.

“It was said in jest. And I think that if John McCain, who had a great sense of humor, would have heard it, he would have laughed.”

Lake said all Republicans “need to get a little bit thicker skin because we’re going through some tough stuff right now and we need to be able to take a joke.”

Meghan McCain responded to that on the social-media platform X.

“Kari Lake is trying to walk back her continued attacks on my Dad (& family) and all of his loyal supporters after telling them to ‘get the hell out,’” McCain wrote Tuesday in a social media post. “Guess she realized she can’t become a Senator without us.”

“We see you for who you are — and are repulsed by it.”

A person close to the McCain family said Tuesday the other McCains would have no comment on Lake’s remarks.

But the exchange with Meghan McCain led KTAR to invite her on the air Wednesday.

Lake tried to get back to her central message on Monday: that she wants to unite Republicans behind her campaign and win over others, too.

“We are facing huge challenges and it’s going to take ‘all hands on deck’ to pull things back from the brink. My dad passed away from cancer, too. I trust and believe that if our fathers were still with us they would do everything they could to save this Republic,” Lake wrote.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kari Lake tries to make peace with Meghan McCain, who torches her