The man who first gave Sarah Palin a starring national role in August 2008 will try to avoid getting involved in the Trump endorsement storyline -- for now, at least. "Senator McCain has great respect and appreciation for Governor Palin," a senior aide told NBC News. "As he has said since Senator [Lindsey] Graham exited the race, he will not be taking sides and endorsing a primary candidate at this point in the race."
Jan. 20, 201615:59
This level of restraint really can't be easy.
In case it's not obvious, Palin's new pal is on record publicly mocking John McCain's war record. Indeed, at a forum in Iowa in July, Trump said McCain is "not a war hero," adding, "I like people that weren't captured, okay?" Pressed to apologize, Trump refused.
Six months later, this same candidate picked up an endorsement from McCain's former running mate -- the person responsible for putting Palin on the national stage -- and the senator still maintains the line about "great respect and appreciation" for the former governor.
I guess the alternative is a statement in which McCain asks, "Good lord, what have I done?"
Keep in mind, as Rachel noted on the show last night, the Arizona Republican, even after the 2008 fiasco, has been steadfastly loyal to Palin, praising her repeatedly, and emphasizing how "proud" he is to have chosen her for the GOP ticket. At one point, McCain said, "I love Sarah. I think she is still the best decision that I have ever made."
And he did not appear to be kidding.
But after yesterday, it's hard to escape the fact that the loyalty and respect appears to be a one-way street.