Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has torn “the veil off of the establishment of how the system works,” former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said at her well publicized endorsement rally for Trump in Ames Tuesday.
She also expressed dismay over other Republicans verbally attacking Trump and his supporters.
“Some people are whispering they’re willing to throw in for Hillary in order to keep the establishment,” she said.
Trump’s expected response, Palin said, is to “throw out the race-baiting argument” and instead talk about unifying issues like the Second Amendment and the right to life.
Palin — loved by the Republican Party’s right wing — threw her support behind Tuesday during a campaign rally at Iowa State University. She was governor from 2006 until 2009 and the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee. She appeared alongside Trump at the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center.
Rumors swirled online leading up to her eventual announcement about the endorsement and the Jan. 19 Ames appearance.
Palin touched on several issues Trump, as well as other presidential hopefuls, had addressed throughout the current campaign system. This included the country’s current national debt, stating that Trump was more qualified to handle finances due to his success in creating his own wealth.
“This self-made success of his, he doesn’t get his high from the opium of other people’s money,” she said.
A major theme in Palin’s endorsement included the military’s interests, a topic she has heavily campaigned on throughout her political career. Palin bashed President Obama as an inefficient commander in chief.
“Are you ready for a commander in chief who will let our warriors do their job and kick ISIS’s ass?” Palin said, to the loudest cheers of the night.
Trump’s speech was not angled toward students, despite the large population of ISU students present at the event. His speech focused on issues he usually talks about, particularly the national debt, the economy, veterans, foreign policy and trade.
The Republican presidential hopeful remembered his announcement for his intention in June to run for president.
“It all started June 16 when we came down that escalator and said, ‘Let’s go. Let’s make America great again,’” he said.
If elected, Trump said Iowa and New Hampshire will not lose its first-in-the-nation status for the presidential election.
“If I win, they’re not touching Iowa,” he said. “This is an amazing tradition. They’re not touching New Hampshire.”
Critics of the caucuses have said Iowa specifically does not deserve its position as the first voting state because it is not diverse enough.
Diversity existed on this particular day. Protesters who had entered the Hansen Agriculture Center began chanting “A vote for Trump is a vote for hate” early in Trump’s speech. Several other attendees of the event began chanting “Trump” and “U.S.A.” in an attempt to drown out opposition.
U.S. Secret Service and Trump campaign officials escorted the protesters out. Later in the event, a person in the back shouted, “You guys are a joke” while Palin was speaking. He was also quickly escorted out.
While feelings were mixed during the event because of the protesters, several students in attendance said they were at least willing to give Trump a chance at their support.
Aaron Still, an ISU sophomore in mechanical engineering, said he is undecided but wanted to see Trump and listen to what he had to say.
“He says what he thinks,” Still said.
Still said he is not planning to caucus because he is registered to vote in his home state of Wisconsin, although Iowa law allows college students to re-register in the state.
He also said he had mixed thoughts on the Palin endorsement, saying he thinks it will probably hurt fellow Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz — who is running neck-and-neck with Trump in Iowa’s latest public opinion polling of likely Republican caucus attendees — and help Trump, and he thought Palin brought a lot of energy to the crowd.
Palin endorsed Cruz during his 2012 Senate campaign, and Cruz has noted that without Palin’s endorsement, he may not have been elected to Washington.
Grant Beeler, an ISU senior in animal science, said he has caucused before and plans to again Feb. 1. While he would consider Trump, he also said he likes Cruz and Rand Paul.
“It was a great surprise to see Palin after her endorsement this morning,” Beeler said Tuesday afternoon. He said he thinks the endorsement will help Trump, but Palin only carries the support of a specific crowd of who may already like Trump.
Cole Krynicki, an ISU junior in marketing, said he strongly supports Trump but might not caucus because he is not registered to vote. He said that both Trump and Palin had lots of great things to say, and he likes how Trump takes on political correctness.
Cody Walker, an ISU senior in kinesiology and health, said he also likes Trump, especially as a veteran. Walker pointed to Trump’s positions on veterans care and foreign policy as a reason to support him.
Walker is planning to caucus for the first time this year and that Palin’s endorsement hit hard and fired up the crowd.
For all the attention Palin received another celebrity endorser also accompanied Trump to Ames. Aissa Wayne, daughter of John Wayne, has endorsed Trump, saying the United States needs a “strong leader” like John Wayne who would tell it like it is.
Earlier in the day she delivered her endorsement at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in John Wayne’s Iowa hometown, Winterset.
State Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, also said he is ready to have Trump elected and said it would be refreshing to have someone who is not part of the establishment as president.
Video by Ryan Young/Iowa State Daily