Donald Trump wouldn’t deny this morning at a stop in Iowa that Sarah Palin will endorse him later in the day as speculation swirled on the campaign trail that she was in town.
‘I am a big fan of Sarah Palin,’ he said.
Is she the ‘big’ endorsement he’s been teasing, though? ‘That I won’t say,’ he told reporters this morning in the town of Winterset.
‘That’ll be a very big event,’ he teased. ‘I think you’ll be very impressed.’
Trump spoke just hours after Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton won the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign – America’s most powerful gay rights lobby group.
‘Too many LGBT Americans still face discrimination – in employment, in housing, in education, in health care – because of who they are or who they love,’ Clinton said in a statement Tuesday.
YOU BETCHA? Sarah Palin is rumored to be the big Donald Trump endorser. She’s seen here at an event in Las Vegas in December. At the time she refused to take sides between Trump and Ted Cruz. It now seems that she’s made up her mind
NOT SAYING: Trump won’t confirm the rumor but he said yesterday that it would be ‘fun’ – and accepted an endorsement in the late actor John Wayne’s home town from Wayne’s daughter Aissa
EVIDENCE? A Challenger CL-60 aircraft flew on Monday from Anchorage, Alaska to Des Moines, Iowa – and then on to Tulsa, Oklahoma – setting up a scenario that could mean Palin is endorsing The Donald
All eyes will be on Palin, though, if she emerges Tuesday afternoon to throw her conservative star power behind Trump instead of Ted Cruz, a darling of the right-wing of the Republican Party.
Private flight logs show a Challenger CL-60 jet flying from Anchorage, Alaska, to Des Moines, Iowa, yesterday, then on to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Trump has an event on Wednesday.
That suggests the Trump campaign ferried Palin to Iowa before continuing on to Tulsa to prepare for The Donald’s next visit.
If a Palin endorsement is on the books, she would likely fly from Iowa to Oklahoma with The Donald in his personal jet tomorrow morning after he finishes a two-day swing through Iowa.
The Challenger jet would then be waiting on the tarmac to take her home.
A spokesman for Ted Cruz said today that he’d be ‘deeply disappointed’ if Palin joined forces with Trump then fired a warning shot in her direction.
‘I think it’d be a blow to Sarah Palin, because Sarah Palin has been a champion for the conservative cause, and if she was going to endorse Donald Trump, sadly, she would be endorsing someone who’s held progressive views all their life on the sanctity of life, on marriage, on partial-birth abortion,’ spokesman Rick Tyler said on CNN.
Palin’s daughter Bristol swiftly responded with a post on her blog titled with the header “Is THIS Why People Don’t like Cruz?’
Bristol claimed not to know if her mom was endorsing Trump – ‘I’ve been too busy with diapers to delve too much into politics these days,’ she wrote. ‘But the rumors were enough to cause staffers from Ted Cruz’s office to slam my mom.’
‘Here’s the thing, Sen. Cruz. My mom has consistently supported you and encouraged you. You’ve been a great advocate for conservative causes, and she’s stood by you when others haven’t,’ Bristol said.
The Cruz campaign’s spin on the rumored endorsement and it’s ‘negative knee-jerk reaction, makes me hope my mom does endorse Trump,’ she said.
‘Cruz’s flip-flop, turning against my mom who’s done nothing but support and help him when others sure didn’t, shows he’s a typical politician. How rude to that he’s setting up a false narrative about her!’
‘America doesn’t need that. We need someone who has a vision for economic prosperity, who won’t let us get kicked around in the world, and who will fight for our future.’
WATCH OUT: A spokesman for Ted Cruz said today that he’d be ‘deeply disappointed’ if Palin joined forces with Trump then fired a warning shot in her direction. ‘I think it’d be a blow to Sarah Palin,’ he said
Palin’s daughter Bristol swiftly responded with a post on her blog titled with the header “Is THIS Why People Don’t like Cruz?’ He called a truce on Twitter afterward
MEANWHILE IN CHAPPAQUA: Hillary Clinton received a big-ticket endorsement on Tuesday from the Human Rights Campaign, America’s most powerful gay rights organization
In her admonishment Bristol said she ‘didn’t go to Harvard Law School,’ like Cruz, ‘but I know this: You can like two people in a race, but there will only one president.’
‘The audacity to suggest that because she chooses one over the other will somehow “damage” her just shows arrogance,’ she said.
‘You’ve also said, “She can pick winners!” I hope you’re right, and that she endorses Donald Trump today for President.’
In another hint that Sarah Palin will indeed endorse Trump today, she shared her daughter’s critical post on her Facebook page this afternoon.
Cruz soon called a truce. ‘I love @SarahPalinUSA Without her support, I wouldn’t be in the Senate. Regardless of what she does in 2016, I will always be a big fan, he wrote on Twitter.
The billionaire Republican front-runner will be in Ames for later today for a rally at Iowa State University, where he says he’ll make his big announcement.
He spent the morning in Winterset at an event at the birthplace of Western film legend John Wayne, where he received an endorsement from the late actor’s daughter Aissa.
‘America needs help, and we need a strong leader,’ she said as she introduced Trump. ‘Someone with courage, someone that’s strong, like John Wayne. And I’ll tell you what, if John Wayne were around, he’d be standing right here instead of me.’
Trump told her, ‘John Wayne would be very, very proud of you right now … I think.’
He laughed before adding that he might actually say, ‘What are you doing?’
‘I met him one time and it made such a big impression,’ Trump said, recalling a conversation with Wayne near the end of his life.
‘I was such a fan of John Wayne, and the one meeting I had with him was just an amazing meeting,’ he said of the actor. ‘He was just an incredible guy.’
Wayne, he said, was one of the greats. ‘Who do we have that is bigger than life today?’ Trump asked. ‘I won’t use some of the the names of the actors but it’s not the same thing, not the same thing.’
Yesterday, Trump revealed that the ‘big’ announcement his campaign had been touting was actually an endorsement after saying at the same event, ‘I’ve never been a huge fan of endorsements.’
Yet he said he’s taking two today, one from the Wayne family and one later in the college town of Ames.
‘It’s going to be a lot of fun. … Something big is going to happen,’ he said yesterday of the Ames event.
This morning he told reporters that they’d be very ‘impressed’ with his special guest. ‘I think it could very well, you know, result in votes.’
Palin has mostly stayed out of the 2016 fray and has had complimentary things to say about both Trump and Ted Cruz.
She refused to take a side in December during an event CNN hosted alongside the GOP debate in Las Vegas and said if the candidates were ‘smart’ they wouldn’t seek her approval.
‘It’s not always helpful to have my endorsement,’ she said.
She told CNN’s Jake Tapper, ‘I’m not going to pick one right now, but what a nice problem to have if it came down to Cruz and Trump.’
‘That’s a good problem for voters to have, because we know that, as you say, they are both strong and very decisive and someone who would take the initiative. That is what we need today, and both of those candidates would fit that bill.’
SARAH’S CHARIOT? A Challenger CL-60 like this one flew yesterday from Anchorage to Des Moines
BACK IN THE DAY: Palin, then the governor of Alaska, toured Iowa as the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2008
THE BIG PLANE: Trump owns this Boeing 757 and uses it to fly from state to state as he campaigns
Trump has said he’d ‘love’ to have Palin in his administration.
‘She really is somebody who knows what’s happening and she’s a special person,’ he said of the ex-Alaskan governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee over the summer.
Later, Palin came to Trump’s defense when he confused two terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah.
Hamas is based out of Palestine and Hezbollah operates out of Lebanon.
Palin said at the time, ‘I think I’d rather have a president who is tough and puts America first than can win a game of trivial pursuit.’
Furthermore, she said, ‘I don’t think the public gives a flying flip if somebody knows who, today, is a specific leader of a specific region or a religion or anything.’
Trump will speak at a nearby energy forum this afternoon then finish big in Ames with a rally at Iowa State University.
This morning in Winterset he took questions from reporters about his get out the vote operation in Iowa and ‘temperament’ after Cruz suggested this week that Trump might fly off the handle on Twitter if he were president.
‘I think the American people want a steady hand at the helm. They want someone they know and trust. They don’t want to wake up every day wondering if the latest polls might set off the commander in chief into a frenzy of tweets,’ Cruz told NPR on Monday.
Today Trump turned the argument back around on the United State senator and said, ‘Ted has got a rough temperament, You can’t call people liars on the Senate floor when they are your leaders. Not a good thing to do if you want to curry favor and get the positive votes later on own.’
‘Ted is worried about his temperament,’ he said. ‘He’s gotta be careful because his temperament has been questioned a lot.’
Trump also said that following his last debate performance, even the ‘serious establishment types’ in the Republican Party who have been bemoaning his candidacy are taking notice of his winning campaign.
‘They all want to know how to get involved in the campaign, they’re giving up on their candidates,’ he said. ‘They’re contacting us left and right about joining the campaign.’