U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin held a tele-rally with former President Donald Trump on Monday, the same day Trump said his Mar-A-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, was searched by the FBI as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence.
“Another day in paradise. This is a strange day. You probably all read about it,” Trump said at the start of the 15-minute call, addressing Palin supporters ahead of the Aug. 16 special U.S. House election.
It was the second tele-rally Trump held for Palin since she launched her campaign. He also held an in-person rally in Anchorage last month that drew a crowd of more than 5,000.
During the call, Trump repeated some of what he said during his Anchorage rally, deriding Alaska’s new ranked-choice election system and attacking U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is running for re-election this year.
“Choose only one candidate for each office,” Trump instructed voters. The statement could have been directed at the pick-one primary on the opposite side of the ballot, which will determine which candidates advance to the November general election. But it’s an instruction that goes against what the Alaska GOP has been telling voters ahead of the race — “rank the red,” in an effort to encourage voters to rank both Palin and Republican Nick Begich. The two are facing Democrat Mary Peltola in a special election to replace Rep. Don Young who died unexpectedly in March. If Begich and Palin split the Republican vote, Peltola could emerge victorious.
In Palin’s remarks on the call she took aim at her Republican opponent Nick Begich for supporting Democratic candidates in the past, calling him a RINO, or Republican in name only. Begich has said he voted for former Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, a Democrat, and for his uncle Mark Begich, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008 as a Democrat. Begich has also frequently attacked Palin during the campaign, though he has said he will rank Palin second on his ballot.
Palin responded to some of the criticism that has been levied against her since she entered the race, including her recent decision to leave Alaska less than two week before the special U.S. House election on Aug. 16 to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas.
“Heaven forbid I left the state to go represent Alaska at this industry conference. Do you know what the theme was? Drill, baby, drill,” she said, referencing a slogan she popularized during her 2008 vice presidential campaign. The phrase was not the conference’s official theme.
“I wasn’t going to miss that. That’s where Alaska’s voice needed to be heard,” Palin said. “I was proud, honored to get to represent all of you Alaskans at the drill, baby drill congruence in Dallas.”