Flake challenger praises Trump pardon of Arpaio
© Greg Nash

Arizona Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE's (R) primary opponent Kelli Ward praised President Trump's pardoning of controversial former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday.

"We applaud the president for exercising his pardon authority to counter the assault on Sheriff Arpaio's heroic efforts to enforce the nation's immigrant laws," Ward said in a statement. 

Ward's comments came as Flake criticized the president's decision, saying he "would have preferred" Trump allow Arpaio's case to make its way through court.

ADVERTISEMENT

The statements come as Trump has intensified his war of words with Flake, including at a rally in Phoenix earlier this week and in subsequent tweets.

The GOP senator recently published a book blasting the role Trump has taken in the Republican Party, while Trump has called Flake "weak" on borders and security.

Trump has also spoken favorably about Ward, who is challenging Flake for his Senate seat next year, and Politico reported Wednesday that Trump had personally met with Flake's primary opponents.