Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is endorsing Republican frontrunner and longtime friend Donald Trump. Both Palin and Trump’s campaign issued a statement confirming the highly speculated endorsement on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016. Palin will endorse formally Trump at his rally at the Iowa State University campus in Ames, Iowa Tuesday night. They will also appear together on Wednesday morning, Jan. 20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The New York Times was the first to confirm the endorsement.
Trump’s Campaign issued a statement confirming a highly influential endorsement from Palin. The press release said, “Today Donald J. Trump received the coveted and influential endorsement of former Vice Presidential Candidate and Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Palin praised Trump’s leadership and unparalleled ability to speak the truth and produce real results.”
Palin issued a confirmation in the press release, saying, “I’m proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president.” In a statement, Trump expressed his gratitude for the endorsement, “I am greatly honored to receive Sarah’s endorsement. She is a friend, and a high-quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support.”
Palin’s endorsement is bound to boost Trump in the Iowa caucuses, as he faces a tough race with Texas Senator Ted Cruz in that state’s important nominating contest. Currently, Trump is neck and neck with Cruz in Iowa, while nationally he leads him by wide margins. Trump’s campaign was already trying to burnish their candidate’s reputation with conservatives, by citing Palin’s conservative credentials, “A trusted conservative, Palin has a proven record of being fiscally modest, staunchly pro-life and believes in small government that allows businesses to grow and freedom to prosper.”
Ralph Reed, the chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition commented to the New York Times, “Palin’s brand among evangelicals is as gold as the faucets in Trump tower. Endorsements alone don’t guarantee victory, but Palin’s embrace of Trump may turn the fight over the evangelical vote into a war for the soul of the party.”
Sen. Cruz is not taking Palin’s endorsement very well. Earlier Cruz communications director Rick Tyler criticized Palin on CNN’s “New Day.” Tyler said, “I think it would be a blow to Sarah Palin, because Sarah Palin has been a champion of the conservative cause, and if she was going to endorse Donald Trump, sadly she would be endorsing someone who’s held progressive views all their life on the sanctity of life, on marriage, on partial-birth abortion, he supported [the] TARP bailout – it goes on and on and on. Donald Trump claims he’s changed all those views. But I think if it was Sarah Palin, let me just say I would be deeply disappointed.”
After the Cruz campaign remarks, Palin’s eldest daughter Bristol tweeted and wrote a blog post asking “Is THIS Why People Don’t like Cruz?” and concluding, “I hope my Mom endorses Donald Trump.” Cruz tried to smooth it over with Palin tweeting, “I love @SarahPalinUSA Without her support, I wouldn’t be in the Senate. Regardless of what she does in 2016, I will always be a big fan.” Palin endorsed Cruz in 2010 in his Senate race, and made the difference for him, helping him win the election.
Palin’s endorsement is highly sought after because she has sway with the conservative Tea Party movement and evangelicals. Palin emerged as a defacto leader of the movement after the 2008 campaign. The Trump campaign called Palin “amongst the most sought after and influential amongst Republicans.” Palin is longtime friends with Trump and she has been defending and praising him throughout the campaign. Trump has been praising her as well even saying he would consider as a running mate or in his cabinet. Back in September Palin expressed interest as serving as Trump’s Energy Secretary. Their political mutual adoration was evident, and it was only a matter of time until Palin formally endorsed the GOP frontrunner.