Despite how it might have looked, Donald Trump says he was not at all uncomfortable standing at Sarah Palin's side earlier this week as she gave an endorsement speech that lasted for more than 20 minutes.
"I didn't know it was going to be quite that long, but she made a beautiful, you know, she made a very good speech," Trump said in a lengthy telephone interview with CNN's Don Lemon on Wednesday night. "No, I wasn't uncomfortable — I was very happy. I would have normally left the stage and let her speak ... I thought it would be disrespectful to her if I left the stage. So, no, I wasn't uncomfortable at all."
Trump said that when Palin offered to endorse him, she asked for nothing in return — no promise for a position in his cabinet or any other perk. When asked how much negotiating went into the endorsement, Trump responded: "Zero."
"She wants what's good for the country ... which is really nice," Trump said.
Palin's first full day of campaigning at Trump's side on Wednesday was largely overshadowed by a family crisis back in Alaska: Palin's son Track Palin, 26, was arrested on domestic-violence charges on Monday following an alcohol-fueled fight with his girlfriend, who called 911 to report that Track had punched her in the face and that he had a firearm. News of the arrest broke on Tuesday, as Palin prepared to endorse Trump.
Palin skipped the first campaign event of the day and then addressed “the elephant in the room” during a rally in Tulsa, Okla. Palin said her son, who served a combat tour in Iraq with the Army, is struggling with the "ramifications of PTSD." She then blamed President Obama for not doing enough to help veterans like Track. Trump said he encouraged Palin to address the issue publicly.
"I think that it's something that is very important to discuss — not even for her son but for so many other sons and daughters that are coming back from the Middle East where they have, you know, traumatic problems, they have tremendous problems," Trump said. "And I told her — I actually suggested it — I said I think it would be a great forum, and I know that she started the dialogue, and I think that it's a very important dialogue."
When asked if he agreed with Palin linking her son's recent arrest to the president, Trump responded: "Oh, I think so. Look, you know, everything starts at the top. He's the president."
Trump also continued to attack Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), saying that Cruz doesn't have the temperament to be president.
"Hey, look, everybody dislikes him," Trump said. "I mean, he's a nasty guy that everybody dislikes."
During the interview, Lemon played a clip of Cruz saying: "In terms of who I am, I'm a Christian first, I'm an American second, I'm a conservative third, and I'm a Republican fourth." Lemon asked Trump to engage in a similar exercise and describe his own priorities. Trump instead picked the whole thing apart.
"Well, at some point, I think he should add his family — I mean, he forgot to add his family," Trump said. "I mean, does he have his family in that group?
Lemon responded: "Uh, he did not. He said he was a Christian first."
"Well, I think you ought to ask him: What about your family? Where do they come in? Do they come in fifth? So I think that's probably something that he slipped up on," Trump said. "Hey, look, I am somebody that is going to do something really good for the country."