A marriage made in wingnut heaven: Donald Trump makes an even harder play for the Sarah Palin vote

With addition of top Palin aide to his 2016 campaign, The Donald doubles down on crazy

By Sophia Tesfaye

Published July 30, 2015 8:47PM (EDT)

  (Reuters/Carlos Barria/AP/John Locher/Photo montage by Salon)
(Reuters/Carlos Barria/AP/John Locher/Photo montage by Salon)

Donald Trump knows his base, but the one-time registered Democrat is out to build a team that's even more intimately knowledgable of the right-wing voter, so he's turned to Sarah Palin's inner circle for help. Trump has tapped a former Palin aide to serve as his campaign's political director, USA Today reports.

The Republican presidential frontrunner wants Michael Glassner, chief of staff for SarahPAC -- Palin's super PAC -- to run his political show. According to the campaign, Glassner will be “responsible for developing and implementing a national political plan and will oversee strategic planning and political operations nationwide."

Glassner, who has been right by Palin's side since she was tapped by Sen. John McCain as the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008, called his new boss "the very definition of the American success story." The admiration is apparently mutual. "In addition to our great success in all the recent national polls, we have built a great team, ultimately driven by my message to Make America Great Again and Mr. Glassner will certainly be an asset to us as we further cement our dominance in the 2016 GOP field," Trump said in a statement announcing Glassner's hire and tooting his campaign's own horn.

Trump and Palin have shared an immensely positive public rapport since Palin refused to bash Trump in the aftermath of his comments dismissing her former running mate, Sen. John McCain's, record as a war hero, telling CNN that she respected both men and criticizing McCain's description of Trump supporters as "crazies" that initiated the entire dust-up.

"Everywhere I go, hard-working patriotic Americans -- not 'crazies' or 'wacko birds' --- ask me to pass on to Mr. Trump encouragement to keep educating the masses about true ramifications of illegal immigration, and in general the real state of our union," Palin pushed back against McCain's assessment of Trump supporters.

This week, Trump returned the favor. The Republican presidential candidate said he would "love" Palin to be part of a future Trump administration, calling her a “strong” and “special” person during an interview on a "Mama Grizzly" themed radio show.

"I'm looking at some of these candidates, they're weak, they're ineffective and to a degree that's almost hard to believe. And, you know, they like the Sarah Palin kind of strength. You just don't see very much of it anymore ... she’s got a following that’s unbelievable. I still have people saying, 'Oh, get Sarah’s support, get Sarah’s support!' No matter where I go, everybody loves her," Trump said.

The Trump-Palin relationship is hardly a budding love.  In 2011, Palin lauded Trump's "Birther" conspiracy, applauding him for forcing the issue into the media.

"(Palin) took so much nonsense, lies and disgusting lies, and she handles it so well," Trump told Mama Grizzly radio. "Now she has, like me, some people that don't exactly love us and we understand who they are and you sort of forget about that."

Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Elections Donald Trump Gop Sarah Palin