Sarah Palin has been a private citizen for more than six years now. The failed Republican vice presidential candidate who resigned as governor of Alaska to become a reality TV show host and tea party fellow traveler has been slowly pushed to the periphery of national politics. Occasionally, news organizations have wondered whether they should even cover her — even though she still can get headlines by saying, for example, that Lena Dunham is a pedophile or by comparing Planned Parenthood’s logo to the Confederate flag.
But Palin plus Donald Trump? That’s a story everyone can get excited about — even when the Donald just offers generic praise of the self-proclaimed maverick on an obscure radio show, and Palin isn’t even there.
Such was the scene on Mama Grizzly Radio — a Web radio station that offers “Sarah Palin news 24-7 … the very latest on the Governor and exclusive interviews with some top notch Palinistas,” according to its Web site — when Donald Trump visited on Monday. Trump was there to discuss his signature positions on climate change (he doesn’t believe it’s man-made), jobs (he’ll get them from China) and President Ronald Reagan (he likes him).
Oh: And then there was Palin.
“She’s a great person,” Trump said, “and Todd and the whole family. These are great people. And one of the things I most admire about her is that she took so much nonsense — lies and disgusting lies and she handles it so well. She’s tough and smart and just a great woman.”
Curiously, Mama Grizzly host Kevin Scholla, who is a sports anchor for a CBS-owned radio station in Philadelphia when not offering partisan political commentary online, implied the criticism all presidential candidates face was somehow specific to Palin and Trump.
“I would like to say you’re being Palin-ed in this regard,” Scholla said. “People who don’t know you at all yet are going after your character.”
Trump was happy to make the Palin connection.
“Like me, she’s got some people that don’t exactly love us,” Trump said. “And we understand who they are and you sort of forget about that. But she has a tremendously loyal group of people out there for her and I think now maybe more so than ever.”
Donald Trump on Mama Grizzly Radio.
Would there be a spot for Palin in a Trump administration?
“I’d love that because she really is somebody that knows what’s happening,” Trump said. “And she’s a special person. And I think people know that. And she’s got a following that’s unbelievable.”
Trump also didn’t hesitate to knock other GOP contenders.
“I’m looking at some of these candidates,” Trump said. “They’re weak. They’re ineffective — to a degree that’s actually almost hard to believe. And [voters] like the Sarah Palin kind of strength. You just don’t see very much of it anymore.”
Trump got more specific, sort of. He mispronounced Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) name. He said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) couldn’t give an answer on whether he thought the Iraq War was a mistake. He sarcastically called former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex.) “another beauty.”
Palin rose above this lot.
“I don’t even think she knows how important she is, okay?” Trump said. “Maybe that’s part of the beauty of Sarah Palin.”
Though Palin was not present, she has given Trump the thumbs-up on previous occasions.
In 2011, after President Obama released his birth certificate: “Media: Admit it. Trump forced the issue.”
Later that year, after the two shared a pizza: “Every time you go to New York, you’ve got to see Donald Trump. … I approve of his independence.”
In 2014, after a Buzzfeed hit piece on Trump: “This nervous geek isn’t fit to tie the Donald’s wingtips. Don’t ever give him attention again.”
Palin even defended the Donald earlier this month after he bashed McCain — the man who first brought her south to the Lower 48.
“I have the good fortune of knowing both John McCain and Donald Trump well,” Palin told CNN. “Both men have more in common than the today’s media hype would have you believe. Both blazed trails in their careers and love our great nation.”
More about Donald Trump’s White House bid: