Speculation was running amok in the political world early this week, after Donald Trump said Monday that he will have a “major announcement” Tuesday evening during an event in Ames, Iowa, that will include a “very special guest.”
Many observers thought that guest would be Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., who spoke highly of Trump Monday during Trump’s address to the university’s convocation. Conservative radio host Steve Deace, who has already endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, tweeted that he believed Falwell would be endorsing Trump.
“Multiple little birdies tell me Jerry Falwell, Jr. is going to endorse Trump for president and come to Iowa with him tomorrow,” Deace tweeted.
Multiple little birdies tell me Jerry Falwell, Jr. is going to endorse Trump for president and come to Iowa with him tomorrow.
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) January 18, 2016
However, Falwell Jr. said in an interview with Sean Hannity Monday night that he would not be endorsing any political candidate for president, explaining that he cannot do so because Liberty is a non-profit organization — meaning the university is barred from participating in political campaigns.
With Falwell likely out of the picture, speculation turned Monday to former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin. Would the 2008 vice presidential nominee be Trump’s “special guest”? Deace, who is one of the most “in the know” politicos in Iowa, later tweeted that everyone he knows “now believes Trump’s special guest in Iowa tomorrow night is now going to be Sarah Palin.”
Pretty much everybody I know now believes Trump's special guest in Iowa tomorrow night is now going to be Sarah Palin.
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) January 19, 2016
But the most convincing evidence supporting the belief that Palin will be Trump’s “special guest” is an itinerary for a private jet that left Anchorage, Alaska, Monday, with a destination of Ames, Iowa. A commenter on a conservative message board unearthed the flight record last night.
Something perfect about the Palin-Trump story being broken by enterprising freepers stalking flightaware https://t.co/8tdwvxt345
— Liam Donovan (@LPDonovan) January 19, 2016
To boot, that same private jet is also scheduled to head to Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wednesday, where Trump is slated to hold an event.
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) January 19, 2016
Palin has been extremely supportive of Trump throughout his campaign, going back to last summer, so it wouldn’t be a major surprise if she does end up endorsing Trump. However, many on the right don’t see Trump as a true conservative, which in its own right would make an endorsement from the Tea Party favorite surprising to some.
Many previously thought that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would be the candidate most likely to receive Palin’s coveted endorsement, given his overall conservative positions. But Cruz’s communications director, Rick Tyler, didn’t shut down rumors of a Palin-Trump endorsement this morning.
Tyler was asked on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday morning how a Palin endorsement of Trump would effect the Cruz campaign. Tyler deflected, saying that if Palin endorses Trump, it would be “a blow to Sarah Palin, because Sarah Palin has been a champion of the conservative cause.” If she does endorse Trump, he added, she would be endorsing “someone who’s held progressive views all their life.”
— New Day (@NewDay) January 19, 2016
“Donald Trump claims he’s changed all those views,” Tyler said. “But I think if it was Sarah Palin, let me just say I would be deeply disappointed.”
Palin endorsed Cruz in his come-from-behind senatorial win in 2012.
For Palin, it is likely to come down to Cruz and Trump, as many of the other major candidates, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Dr. Ben Carson, are seen as too moderate for someone like the former Alaska governor. The conservative firebrand even said in December that it “would be a nice problem to have” if the Republican nomination had to be settled between the Texas senator and the real estate mogul.
Update: Sarah Palin tweeted Tuesday afternoon a link to a blog post from her daughter, Bristol Palin. In that blog post, Palin bashed Cruz for Tyler’s comments on “New Day” Tuesday morning, and said she hoped her mom will endorse Trump instead of Cruz.
Is THIS Why People Don’t like Cruz? https://t.co/Qv3iih071S
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) January 19, 2016
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