Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump immediately drew rapturous praise from their fans, and jeers from their detractors on both side of the partisan divide. And it didn’t take long before the pairing of the man who quit reality TV for politics with the woman who quit politics for reality TV was diverted by some real-life scandal.
Almost immediately after Palin unleashed her poetic praise of Trump, it emerged that her 26-year-old son, Track, was arrested Monday on domestic violence and weapons charges in Alaska. It’s unclear if that caused Palin to miss her expected appearance at a Trump campaign stop in Norwalk, Iowa; the Trump campaign and Palin’s spokesperson have not responded to requests for comment.
Palin posted a message on Facebook Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 20) that suggested she was heading to a Trump event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and dismissed media reports about her no-show in Norwalk.
On Tuesday night in Ames, Iowa, Palin roused a crowd of Trump supporters with her ringing endorsement of the real estate mogul.
“Ready to make America great again?” She asked the crowd. “I’m here to support the next president of the United States, Donald Trump.”
But Republican pundits—none of them Trump supporters—were less than enthused at the news:
Iowa is currently the only state in which Trump is facing considerable opposition, with Texas senator Ted Cruz receiving considerable support from evangelical voters. Palin, too, is a favorite of fundamentalist Christians, and an an endorsement from the social-conservative darling could quell some doubts about Trump’s faith. She also has a strong following among Tea Party activists.
Supposing that Trump gets the nomination—a once-crazy idea that many Republicans are now beginning to consider seriously—Palin’s endorsement won’t help much in the general election, and may prove to be a liability. Moderates and independent voters are not Sarah Palin’s people. Likewise, millennial and Latino voters are expected play a big role in the general election, and Palin’s fan base skews older and whiter.