Former President Donald Trump on Sunday endorsed Sarah Palin in the upcoming Alaska House special election.
Calling her a “wonderful patriot” and “tough and smart,” Trump said the former governor had been “a champion for Alaska values, Alaska energy, Alaska jobs, and the great people of Alaska.”
Referring to her time on the 2008 Republican ticket alongside the late Sen. John McCain — a longtime foil of the former president — Trump said, “Sarah lifted the McCain presidential campaign out of the dumps despite the fact she had to endure some very evil, stupid, and jealous people within the campaign itself. They were out to destroy her, but she didn’t let that happen.”
“I am proud to give her my Complete and Total Endorsement, and encourage all Republicans to unite behind the wonderful person and her campaign to put America First,” Trump added.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate and conservative firebrand announced Friday that she was running to fill the House seat held by the late Rep. Don Young, following recent talks with Trump.
“Public service is a calling, and I would be honored to represent the men and women of Alaska in Congress, just as Rep. Young did for 49 years. I realize that I have very big shoes to fill, and I plan to honor Rep. Young’s legacy by offering myself up in the name of service to the state he loved and fought for,” Palin said in a statement Friday.
Some 51 candidates are presently running to replace Young, including several state lawmakers, and Palin is no shoo-in. The special election’s primary is scheduled for June 11, with the top four candidates advancing to the general election on Aug. 16.
Trump’s endorsement comes at a time when his kingmaking ability is under increased scrutiny in the lead-up to the November midterms and with Trump reportedly still weighing his own run for president in 2024.
Trump has spoken highly of Palin in the past, floating her for a position in his administration during his 2016 campaign following her relatively early endorsement of Trump. Palin, who espoused many of the cultural and populist positions that morphed into MAGA-ism, ultimately did not serve in the Trump administration, returning only recently to the political fray.
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley also endorsed Palin on Sunday in a payback of sorts: Palin endorsed Haley in the 2010 South Carolina governor’s race, a nod that bolstered Haley at a critical juncture in the Republican primary she went on to win.
Alex Isenstadt contributed to this report.
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