Sanders, who took office as Arkansas governor in January after touting her support from the former president during the campaign, planned to join Trump at a rally in Florida on Wednesday, Trump said in a statement.
“It is no longer a question between right and left. It’s “normal” versus “crazy,” and President Biden and the left are betting even more on “crazy,” Sanders said in a statement. “The time has come to return to the normal policies of the Trump era that have created a safer, stronger and more prosperous America,” and that is why I am proud to support Donald Trump for president.”
NBC first reported Sanders’ endorsement of the former president. The two will appear together in Florida on Wednesday, the same day that Trump’s rivals for the nomination will face off in the third Republican presidential debate.
“We’ve had great success in the White House and it’s an honor to have Sarah’s support,” Trump said. “I look forward to having them at the big rally in Hialeah this Wednesday.”
Although Sanders was one of Trump’s closest confidants and fiercest defenders during his time in the White House, he had avoided endorsing him or anyone else in the competitive Republican presidential race in recent months.
The GOP field includes Sanders’ predecessors, former Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who was one of the few Republican candidates willing to run directly against Trump. He had urged the former president to drop out of the race after Trump did indicted by a grand jury in March in New York. Sanders was not expected to support Hutchinson’s bid for the Republican nomination.
Trump publicly encouraged Sanders to run for governor when she left the White House to return to Arkansas in 2019. As a candidate and after taking office, Sanders adopted many of his targets, including critical race theory and the media.
Sanders delivered the in February Refutation of the Republicans to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, in which he focused heavily on culture war themes and accused Biden of pursuing “woke fantasies.” Sanders has enacted several measures that have been welcomed by conservatives in the state, including one Education overhaul which has launched a new school voucher program.
But Sanders has also faced questions in recent weeks about a $19,000 Lectern purchased for her office, which has led to an audit alleging her office illegally altered public records.
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