Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump’s presidential bid

Sarah Palin, the conservative icon and champion of the tea party movement, endorsed Republican front-runner Donald Trump Tuesday at a campaign rally here.

“No more pussyfootin’ around. Our troops deserve the best! You deserve the best,” she told the crowd. “….I’m here to support the next president of the United States: Donald Trump!”

The endorsement is a major pick-up for Trump, who has been struggling to maintain a share of the lead in Iowa ahead of the Feb. 1 caucuses as Cruz, a darling of the tea party, has gained support and major endorsements. Palin’s pick serves a stinging blow to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who received the backing of the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate during his Senate campaign in 2012.

“I love Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin is fantastic. Without her friendship and support I wouldn’t be in the Senate today,” Cruz said Tuesday, minutes before the endorsement was confirmed. “And so regardless of what Sarah decides to do in 2016 I will always remain a big, big fan of Sarah Palin’s.”

Palin, the former governor of Alaska who was John McCain’s running mate in 2008, has continued to be a popular spokeswoman for conservatives, especially socially conservative Christians, long after leaving office in her home state. She frequently offers political commentary on cable news channels, has starred in a reality television show and is regularly a featured guest at conservative conventions. Her memoir, published in 2009, sold more than two million copies and was one of the fastest-selling political books in history.