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Former President Donald Trump issued his first endorsement since leaving office on Jan. 20, backing his former press secretary Sarah Sanders in her race for governor of Arkansas.
Trump endorsed Sanders in a statement released on Monday night, the same day that Sanders announced her long-anticipated run for office.
“Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a warrior who will always fight for the people of Arkansas and do what is right, not what is politically correct. Sarah is strong on Borders, tough on Crime, and fully supports the Second Amendment and our great law enforcement officers,” Trump wrote in a statement. “She loves our Military and Veterans – and her home state of Arkansas. Sarah will be a GREAT governor and she has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
Thank you President Trump for your endorsement and for always believing in me. As governor I will defend our freedom and lead with heart pic.twitter.com/QFtyuNpSm1
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) January 26, 2021
Sanders jumped into the race which already has two other GOP competitors: Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. Current Gov. Asa Hutchinson is blocked from running for reelection because of term limits.
Sanders, who has relatively high name recognition from her time in the Trump administration, is expected to begin the campaign with an edge in polling. She is also the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is now a conservative political commentator.
Sanders announced her run for governor, which has been rumored since soon after she left the Trump administration in June 2019, in a video put out on Monday morning.
“America is great because we are free, but today our freedom and the rule of law are under attack. I was the first White House press secretary to require Secret Service protection because of a credible, violent threat against me. We’ve seen violence in our streets, at a congressional baseball practice and at our Capitol. This is not who we are as Americans,” Sanders said.
“To remain free, we must have law and order and resolve our differences peacefully. The radical left’s solution is to impose government control and censorship from the top down. But their socialism and cancel culture will not heal America, it will only further divide and destroy us,” she continued. “Everything we love about America is at stake, and with the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defense. In fact, your governor must be on the front line, so today I announce my candidacy for governor of Arkansas and ask for your prayers and your support.”
“As governor, I will defend your right to be free from socialism and tyranny, your 2nd Amendment right to keep your family safe, and your freedom of speech and religious liberty. Our state needs a leader with the courage to do what’s right, not what’s politically correct or convenient. I took on the media, the radical left, and their cancel culture – and I won,” Sanders said. “As governor, I will be your voice and never let them silence you.”