Former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin defended Donald Trump’s conservative credentials and railed against the Republican establishment for “attacking their own frontrunner” while endorsing Trump in Iowa on Tuesday.
“What he has been able to do, which is really ticking people off, which I’m glad about -- he’s going rogue left and right,” Palin said, referencing the name of her 2009 memoir.
Palin’s endorsement comes as Trump faces a growing onslaught of attacks over his past support for some Democratic causes and candidates. Palin told the crowd she would not have endorsed Trump if she had any doubts about his conservativism.
“Now what they’re doing is wailing that, ‘Well, Trump and his trumpeters, well they’re not conservative enough.’ Oh my goodness, gracious, what the heck would the establishment know about conservatism?” Palin said.
“The GOP machine, the establishment, they who would assemble the political landscape, they’re attacking their own frontrunner," she added. "Would the left ever, the DNC ever, come after their frontrunner and her supporters? No because they don’t eat their own.”
In a statement announcing the endorsement, Trump said, “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, who fired up some aspects of the Republican base in 2008 as Sen. John McCain's running mate, could help Trump among women. Her support could also help to bolster the real estate mogul among some conservative circles in Iowa, which will hold its caucus on February 1st.
But as much as she appeals to some components of the Republican base, she repels others.
Palin, who has reemerged on the political scene recently as the primary approaches, has long positioned herself as the anti-establishment candidate. Palin's endorsement of Trump is a blow to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz who is also trying to appeal to voters angry at the traditional ranks of the Republican Party.
Palin did however acknowledge the potential awkwardness that her endorsement presents, telling the Ames, Iowa crowd that she chose Trump “over some friends who are running and I’ve endorsed a couple others in their races before they decided to run for president.” Palin endorsed and stumped for Cruz during his 2012 Senate re-election campaign and the two have had warm words for each other over the years.
She will attend two campaign events with Trump on Wednesday.