It hasn’t gone so well for Lake since.
The failed Arizona governor candidate has stumbled repeatedly, both with MAGA diehards and with the one person who matters most in the decision: Trump himself.
And it’s with Trump aides that Lake has particularly lost her footing.
“She’s a shameless, ruthless demagogue who wants power and will do whatever she has to do to get it,” a Trump adviser told The Daily Beast.
This adviser added that, in recent months, Trump has been less enthusiastic about Lake himself.
Two Trump advisers who spoke to The Daily Beast said the heart of Trump’s frustration with Lake is that, in his eyes, she always wants attention.
As one of the advisers put it, she’s a “spotlight hound.”
While Lake does check off the running-mate box of being an extremely “loyal” backer of Trump, her ability to outshine the ex-president might just be her downfall.
One of the two Trump advisers, who has spoken with Trump about the matter, said the former president doesn’t appreciate Lake “running around saying she should be VP.”
“Tells you all you need to know that he did not make her his national spokeswoman,” the same adviser added. “She was an obvious choice.”
A third Trump adviser, who has likewise spoken to Trump about the matter, said they believe Trump “sees through her gambit for the vice presidency.”
“You don’t have to be a wizard to figure that out,” this source continued. “She is a woman that knows what she wants and knows how to get it.”
A Trumpworld operative agreed.
“I think she is an effective surrogate, but I’m not sure she will be a VP pick,” this operative close to the Trump campaign said, suggesting instead that Lake could be a press secretary in a future administration.
“But who knows?” they added.
A spokesperson for Lake chalked up the drama to “pathetic attempts from Team DeSantis” to divide Trump from his biggest supporters. “MAGA world is more United [sic] than ever and ready to win big in 2024,” this spokesperson said.
But it’s not DeSantis operatives who say Lake is starting to overstay her welcome—it’s Trump’s own people.
One Trump adviser pointed to a recent headline from People magazine that alleged the MAGA firebrand spends more time at Mar-a-Lago than Trump’s wife, Melania.
“Kari Lake is there all the time,” a source told the publication. “There’s a suite there that she practically lives in.”
A Trump spokesperson did not return The Daily Beast’s requests for comment on this story.
Publicly, Lake has sidestepped questions on the possibility of being Trump’s running mate.
“I don't think President Trump needs a vice president,” she said. “He is that powerful as a leader, he doesn’t really need anyone.”
Her over-the-top adoration aside, Trump has continued to publicly support Lake.
Trump apparently doesn’t ding her too much for her loss in the Arizona governor race, with one adviser saying Trump views Lake’s defeat as “similar” to his—with election fraud to blame.
“He believes that Kari Lake’s election situation mirrors his own,” a third Trump adviser told The Daily Beast. “And in fact, he believes one of the reasons why he’s in the situation he is, is the same reason Kari Lake is in the situation she is in. He believes she should be governor as much as he believes he should be president.”
Trump recently told supporters on his social media platform, Truth Social, to go out and buy Lake’s new book, which notably was published via Winning Team Publishing, a Trump-aligned book publisher.
“Every day, Kari fights to Make America Great Again,” he said. “I know this book is great, because I wrote the foreword.”
Later that evening, the former president appeared at a Lake book party hosted at Trump’s Bedminster club.
While Trump’s advisers clearly have their issues with Lake and her forceful pitch for VP, Trump is developing criteria for the position that wouldn’t exactly exclude her.
“He definitely wants someone who can defend him well on TV,” one of the Trump advisers said.
The Daily Beast previously reported that a slate of female lawmakers—including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, even former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii—were names that Trump had been entertaining as possible 2024 running mates. But since then, Trump and advisers who have discussed the matter with him agree that needing to select a woman candidate might be a “false premise.”
In recent weeks, some in Trump’s orbit have begun to rethink the former president’s VP needs—now considering how a potential running mate might preserve his legacy and pick up where Trump left off.
“He’s thinking about the terms afterward, and he knows now more than ever that the United States cannot be led by a mealy-mouthed establishment Republican,” a previously mentioned Trump adviser said.
Asked about a possible running mate, Trump said at an Iowa campaign stop last month that he’d thought about it “a little bit.”
“I think about it. We have a lot of candidates, right?” the former president said, responding to a question from the crowd. “We have them running left and right.”
“I don’t think from a voting standpoint it matters very much,” he added.