GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump picked up what may be his most significant endorsement to date, with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announcing yesterday that was backing his campaign.
But while an endorsement from Palin, who served as the vice presidential candidate on Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential run, is seen as a coup for Trump, some pundits are wondering if Palin can do much to help.
And an association with Palin often comes with its own set of headaches and drama.
“Media heads are spinning,” Palin said after taking the stage at a Trump rally at Iowa State University to announce the endorsement. “This is going to be so much fun.”
Trump now faces the challenge of how — and how much — to use Palin in his campaign. Palin is an outspoken maverick, whose comments and media gaffes caused problems and internal dissent within McCain’s campaign.
And for years many members of the media’s liberal media establishment have considered Palin public enemy number one, and have done everything they can to take her down and capitalize on her missteps.
Unfortunately, Palin’s family hasn’t always helped her avoid media criticism. Her daughter, Bristol, was involved in a drunken family fight that was caught on video a little more than a year ago.
And at the time she was announcing her Trump endorsement yesterday, reports were surfacing that Palin’s oldest son, Track, had been arrested for allegedly beating up his girlfriend. Track Palin was charged with assault, interfering with the report of a domestic violence crime and possessing a weapon while intoxicated in connection with the incident.
Some rally-goers at Trump’s event Tuesday evening said they weren’t sure whether Palin’s support would help Trump win over voters. Several referenced what they saw as her poor performance as a vice presidential candidate.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a detriment, but I don’t think it’s going to be a huge asset,” said Stephen Freese, 56, of Burlington, Iowa.
“I don’t think she’s really credible anymore,” said Bruce Dodge, 66, a retiree who lives in Ankeny, Iowa.
Supporters of Palin remain unapologetic. And building on that, Palin said at the endorsement event that, with Trump as president, America would no longer apologize.
“No more pussy-footing around,” Palin said.
Palin’s remarks in Ames, Iowa, were signature Palin, combining the folksy charm and everywoman appeal that initially made her a GOP superstar with defiant taunting of a “busted” GOP establishment that she slammed for counting both Trump and herself out.
Palin offered her full-throated support for Trump and slammed President Barack Obama as the “capitulator in chief.” Trump, she said, would be a commander in chief who would “let our warriors do their job and go kick ISIS’ ass!”
She also took aim at the Republican establishment for “attacking their own front-runner” and offered a challenge to those who have suggested that Trump, whose positions on issues like gun control and abortion rights have shifted over the years, isn’t conservative enough.
“Oh my goodness gracious. What the heck would the establishment know about conservativism?” she said. “Who are they to tell us that we’re not conservative enough? … Give me a break.”
Trump, whose team had been touting a major, surprise announcement, praised Palin as “a friend, and a high-quality person whom I have great respect for” in a statement.
“We’re going to give’ em hell,” he said after her speech.
The Associated Press contributed to this article