Ward supportive of president's comments on Charlottesville, possibility of pardon for Arpaio

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Kelli Ward is looking to become Arizona's next senator by beating Sen. Jeff Flake. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Kelli Ward is looking to become Arizona's next senator by beating Sen. Jeff Flake. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
President Trump took a jab at Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake on Twitter leading up to his August 22 Phoenix rally. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photos) President Trump took a jab at Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake on Twitter leading up to his August 22 Phoenix rally. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 file photos)
Ward said she was satisfied with the president's statements in the wake of the violent protests. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ward said she was satisfied with the president's statements in the wake of the violent protests. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
She also said she would be supportive of a pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) She also said she would be supportive of a pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Former State Senator Kelli Ward, one of the Republicans vying to unseat Senator Jeff Flake next year, voiced her support for the possibility of a presidential pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio at Tuesday's rally in Phoenix and defended President Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville.

Trump singled out the osteopathic physician in a tweet last week while attacking Flake, who has criticized the president for "equivocating" in his condemnation of white supremacists.

"Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He's toxic!" Trump tweeted.

[READ MORE: Leading up to Phoenix rally, President Trump takes jab at 'toxic' Sen. Flake]

Republican strategists have been eager to see if Trump will formally endorse one of Flake's primary opponents. In an interview Monday, Ward would not say if she had been invited to appear with the president at the Convention Center.

[READ MORE: President Trump announces visit to Phoenix]

"I think things are in a lot of flux right now," she said.

[RELATED: Trump Phoenix rally to highlight feisty feud with senator]

Ward said she was satisfied with the president's statements in the wake of the violent protests.

"He denounced hate, bigotry and violence. And I think people who are trying to score political points on the back of the president and his statement are going way too far. It's definitely not unifying the country; it's dividing the country even further," she said.

[RELATED: In Arizona, it's Flake vs. Trump in a test of GOP's allegiances]

She also said she would be supportive of a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court.

[READ MORE: GUILTY: Judge rules in former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's criminal contempt case]

Ward indicated she would be rallying supporters outside the Convention Center Tuesday, but seemed uncertain if she would be attending the actual event.

[RELATED: 2 Trump backers join Flake opponent Kelli Ward's campaign]

"I hope I can make it in," she said.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Politics]

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Derek StaahlDerek Staahl is an Emmy Award-winning reporter and fill-in anchor who loves covering stories that matter most to Arizona families.

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Derek Staahl

This once-uncompromising "California guy" got his first taste of Arizona in 2015 while covering spring training baseball for his former station. The trip spanned just three days, but Derek quickly decided Phoenix should be his next address. He joined CBS 5 and 3TV four months later, in August 2015. Before packing his bags for the Valley of the Sun, Derek spent nearly four years at XETV in San Diego, where he was promoted to Weekend Anchor and Investigative Reporter. Derek chaired the Saturday and Sunday 10 p.m. newscasts, which regularly earned the station's highest ratings for a news program each week. Derek’s investigative reporting efforts into the Mayor Bob Filner scandal in 2013 sparked a "governance crisis" for the city of San Diego and was profiled by the region’s top newspaper. Derek broke into the news business at WKOW-TV in Madison, WI. He wrote, shot, edited, and presented stories during the week, and produced newscasts on the weekends. By the end of his stint, he was promoted to part-time anchor on WKOW’s sister station, WMSN. Derek was born in Los Angeles and was named the “Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year” in his graduating class at USC. He also played quads in the school’s famous drumline. When not reporting the news, Derek enjoys playing drumset, sand volleyball, and baseball.

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