Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump on Tuesday was the end result of a long dance between the two, giving Trump his most significant endorsement yet and injecting Palin back into presidential politics eight years after she was picked to be John McCain’s running mate.
The two were first spotted in public when they went out for pizza in New York City in 2011. At the time, Palin was contemplating her own run for president, and was in the midst of a bus tour. Also at the time, there was little indication that Trump was interested in running for office himself. But in hindsight, they certainly share political views and styles, each having spent time as reality TV stars (Trump before his political career and Palin afterward).
The biggest takeaway from that meeting, by the way, was one that infuriated New Yorkers: Donald Trump eats his pizza with a fork and knife.
Then, last summer, Palin interviewed Trump on her cable news show, “On Point.” It was less an interview in the journalistic sense, and more a chance for Trump to run through the bullet points of his early stump speech. The two traded compliments, with Trump calling Palin “a terrific person” and Palin responding, “Everything about Donald Trump’s campaign, it’s avant-garde, and he’s crushing it in the polls.”
It was perhaps unsurprising, then, when news of the endorsement leaked on Tuesday afternoon. Palin gave Trump a lengthy endorsement, bringing back all of her old favorite catchphrases: “Drill, baby, drill!” “Going rogue,” and her signature tagline, “You betcha!”
Palin, who still has a lot of connections among members of the Iowa GOP, gives Trump a certain amount of conservative credibility heading into the Iowa Caucus, which is less than two weeks away. While Trump spent Monday brushing up on his evangelical credentials, Palin’s endorsement will help him with the tea party vote, which could be critical in holding off his biggest challenger in the state, Ted Cruz.