In a freewheeling and strangely self-defeating interview on Sunday, Sarah Palin rallied behind Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, promoting herself as Trump’s potential secretary of energy even as she pledged to abolish the department.
“I think a lot about the Department of Energy, because energy is my baby: oil and gas and minerals, those things that God has dumped on this part of the Earth for mankind’s use instead of us relying on unfriendly foreign nations,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Sunday on “State of the Union.”
The GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee then took an unusual stance toward the department she positioned herself to lead: “I’d get rid of it. And I’d let the states start having more control over the lands that are within their boundaries and the people who are affected by the developments within their states. If I were in charge of that, it would be a short-term job.”
Palin also defended Trump’s wobbly performance during a foreign policy interview last Thursday. In conversation with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Trump mixed up the Quds and the Kurds and struggled to identify prominent figures in the Middle East. He later tried to downplay the importance of knowing such facts about the region, dubbing them “gotcha” questions. Palin, herself the star of several error-filled foreign policy interviews over the years and a self-proclaimed victim of “gotcha” questions, agreed with the Donald.
“I think I’d rather have a president who is tough and puts America first than can win a game of Trivial Pursuit,” she told CNN. It’s more important to have a grasp of industry details than to know “the leader of some tribe or a religion or even a country,” she added, and she believes that most voters will feel the same way.
“I don’t think the public gives a flying flip if somebody knows who, today, is a specific leader of a specific region or a religion or anything,” she said.
Trump has previously said if elected president he would “love” to have Palin as a member of his cabinet. ”She really is somebody that knows what’s happening. She’s a special person, she’s really a special person,” Trump said on radio show “The Palin Update with Kevin Scholla.”
Palin also envisioned a country where every resident speaks the same language, a mother tongue she calls “American.” She was trying to take a swipe at Trump’s 2016 rival Jeb Bush, who is fluent in Spanish and sometimes speaks in that language on the campaign trail.
“It’s a benefit of Bush to be able to be so fluent, because we have a large and wonderful Hispanic population building America, and that’s a great connection he has with them,” Palin said. “On the other hand, I think we can send a message and say, ‘You want to be in America, A, you’d better be here legally or you’re out of here. B, when you’re here, let’s speak American.”
Perhaps realizing that “American” is not a language, she later elaborated: “Let’s speak English, and that’s a kind of a unifying aspect of the nation is the language that is understood by all.”
Palin also announced that she will rally against the Iran deal next week, joining Trump and other opponents in Washington.
“We walked away from the draft of that treaty giving a win to Iran, our sworn enemy,” she told Tapper. “Iran, who immediately after the deal was struck, started mocking us and poking us and saying yes, of course we’re going to violate it. Thanks for freeing up $150 billion, America, too.”