Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has endorsed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, saying Tuesday «the status quo has got to go.»
Palin, Republican Senator John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 election won by Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden, appeared at a Trump rally in Ames, Iowa, ahead of the state’s Feb. 1 caucus. That caucus is the United States’ first nominating process for the presidential election.
Trump is in a tight race in Iowa with conservative Republican Ted Cruz.
Palin’s folksy, plain-speaking style has won her a following among some conservatives, but she remains a polarizing figure. It is unclear whether she can attract additional support to Trump.
«He is from the private sector, not a politician,» Palin said in a speech after joining Trump onstage. «Can I get a hallelujah?»
She said Trump would «kick ISIS’ ass,» referring to the Islamic State militant group.
Palin said there was nothing wrong with Trump being a multi-billionaire and that it did not make him an elitist.
As Trump stood next to her, Palin said the political establishment had been «wearing political correctness kind of like a suicide vest.»
Trump said he was «greatly honored» by the endorsement in a statement before the event, describing Palin as a «a high-quality person whom I have great respect for.»
Trump has led national opinion polls among Republicans for months but is in a close contest with Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, for the support of Iowa Republicans, who lean conservative and whose evangelical Christians comprise a major voting bloc.
Palin, who often discusses her Christian faith, is popular among that group and endorsed Cruz when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012.
Cruz said that despite her endorsement of Trump, he «will always be a big fan» of Palin.
Despite the Democratic victory, Palin’s 2008 vice presidential run made her a national celebrity.
Since resigning her governorship in 2009, Palin has worked as a conservative political commentator and as the producer and star of television shows about her family.