Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is throwing her support to Republican front-runner Donald Trump, giving him a potential boost among conservatives just two weeks before the first votes are cast in the Republican primary.
Trump’s campaign touted what it called the “coveted and influential” endorsement of the former Alaska governor, saying she’s praised Trump’s leadership and “unparalleled ability to speak the truth and produce real results.”
Palin – who Trump rival Ted Cruz credits for getting him elected to the Senate – was to join Trump in Ames, Iowa Tuesday, two weeks before Iowa’s caucuses, to announce her endorsement.
Trump said he was “greatly honored to receive Sarah’s endorsement,” calling her a “friend, and a high quality person whom I have great respect for.”
Campaigning in New Hampshire, Cruz told reporters that Palin is “fantastic” and that he’d “always be a fan.”
Trump’s campaign called the endorsement “amongst the most sought after and influential amongst Republicans,” noting that since 2009 she had supported more than 150 conservative candidates – including, it noted, Cruz, quoting him as saying “I would not be in the United States Senate were it not for Gov. Sarah Palin. … She can pick winners.”
Palin, who resigned as governor halfway through her term in 2009, had been keeping a low-profile in the 2016 race, but retains a following, even a star quality among some conservative Republicans.
Trump in July mocked Palin’s 2008 running mate, Sen. John McCain, saying that being captured by the enemy does not equal heroism. Republicans condemned the remarks, but Trump did not apologize. Palin at the time defended McCain as a hero, but suggested Trump was one too.
“Donald Trump is a hero in another arena,” she told CNN in an email.
She explained that Trump “is the candidate giving voice to untold millions of fed-up Americans witnessing a purposeful destruction of our economy and the equal opportunity for success that made America exceptional.”