Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Tuesday endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2016, calling him a "master of the art of the deal" who isn't beholden to business interests in Washington.
"This is going to be so much fun. Are you ready to make America great again?" said Palin, who also served as governor of Alaska, at a rally in Iowa Tuesday night.
The endorsement comes after a day of swirling rumors that she was going to endorse the billionaire real estate mogul, stoking the rumors by sharing her daughter's own endorsement of Trump on social media.
The rumors were so pervasive that Twitter users were on Tuesday scouring flight information between Palin's home state of Alaska and the key primary battleground of Iowa.
Palin spoke for about 20 minutes, touting Trump's ability to lead the country, and its military, and asked the crowd to "stump for Trump." She railed as much against the Republican establishment than Democrats in a speech that, more than anything, decried America's political system.
"(Trump) builds things, he builds big things, things that touch the sky, big infrastructure that puts people to work," Palin said. "He doesn't get his power, his high, off the opium of the people's money, like a lot of dopes in Washington do."
Trump embraced Palin after she finished her speech, saying "This is a woman that, from day one, I said if I ever do this, I have to get her support."
Her endorsement of Trump was first reported by The New York Times.
The announcement was one of several wins for Trump on Tuesday, who is jockeying for position with Sen. Ted Cruz ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Besides the Palin endorsements, the state's governor said a Cruz win at the Feb. 1 caucus "would be very damaging to the state."
Palin's daughter Bristol, 25, said she hopes her mom will endorse Trump for president, she wrote in a blog post on Patheos.com, a religious discussion site. Her mother, the former governor of Alaska and the Republican 2008 vice-presidential candidate, shared her daughter’s post on her Twitter and Facebook.
Years removed from her campaign, Palin still commands the respect of a sizable chunk of the Republican base, and her endorsement may be boost Trump's conservative bona fides.
Palin has spoken glowingly of Trump in the past, saying in a July opinion column that he "tapped into America’s great populist tradition by speaking to concerns of working class voters.”
"I think you'll be impressed with the endorsement we get later on," he said, referring to a "tremendous" campaign event. Reporters on the campaign trail were already wondering if Palin was about to offer Trump her support.
The endorsement from the younger Palin came after Rick Tyler, spokesman for Ted Cruz’s campaign, said endorsing Trump would be “a blow” to the former vice presidential candidate. Tyler argued that a Trump endorsement is inconsistent with Palin's conservatism.
Bristol Palin deemed this a “slam” against her mom. Though she said she likes Cruz, her blog post was entitled, "Is THIS Why People Don't Like Ted Cruz?"
“After hearing what Cruz is now saying about my mom, in a negative knee-jerk reaction, makes me hope my mom does endorse Trump,” Bristol Palin wrote.
Her mother, she wrote, was a supporter of Cruz in his senate campaign, and Cruz has spoken positively about Palin before. But the younger Palin has decided that Trump's message of American strength is what the country needs.
"We need someone who has a vision for economic prosperity, who won’t let us get kicked around in the world, and who will fight for our future," Palin said.
In an effort to diffuse the tension over being bashed in the post, Cruz responded to the situation via Twitter. The Texas Republican said he loves Sarah Palin.
"Without her support, I wouldn't be in the Senate," Cruz wrote. "Regardless of what she does in 2016, I will always be a big fan."