What role would Sarah Palin play in a Trump administration?

Sarah Palin, says Donald Trump, hasn't asked for a specific position in a Trump administration. But what are some of the posts Palin might hold?

Mary Altaffer/AP
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (l.) endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa.

It's been a dizzying few days for Donald Trump. Tuesday evening, he scored a major political coup in the frenzied run-up to the critical first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses: an endorsement from Sarah Palin.

Wednesday, Mr. Trump invited the former Alaska governor to join a future Trump White House, telling NBC's Today Show, there "certainly would be a role somewhere in the administration."

"I haven't discussed anything with her about what she'd do, but she's somebody I really like and I respect, and certainly she could play a position if she wanted to," Trump said.

"She never said, 'Gee, I'd like to do this, I'd like to do that.' She never made a deal, like so many people want to try to make deals," he added, praising Ms. Palin for offering her support in a strings-free endorsement. "She just said, 'I really like what's going on. It's an amazing thing. I've never seen anything like it in politics.' "

Niceties aside, let's get down to business. In politics, everybody likes a plum White House position, and this is an opportunity for a fading Palin to ride Trump's star back in to office – or at least to momentary stardom.

What position might Trump consider her for?

Vice President: It's a position John Adams once called "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived," but that hasn't stopped most politicians from running if given the chance. Of course, Palin would bring a hefty dose of campaign trail experience – she became one of the most high-profile running mates in history when she joined the McCain ticket in 2008. And Palin herself floated the idea of a Palin-Trump ticket (not Trump-Palin) in a “Saturday Night Live” bit in February of last year.

Considering all they have in common – both are larger-than-life, outside-the-beltway reality TV stars with a penchant for plain talk that attracts raucous crowds – a Trump-Palin ticket would guarantee the pair a perennial spot in the headlines.

But in his NBC interview, Trump, who has even floated the idea of a Trump-Oprah ticket, shied away from committing to a running mate, insisting he's focusing on winning first. He also said he doubted Palin would be interested because "she's been through that," referring to her role as John McCain's running mate.

Secretary of Energy: For all their recent coyness about a cabinet position, Palin didn't mince words about her dream role in a Trump administration in a CNN interview last fall.

"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 relying on unfriendly foreign nations for us to import their resources," Palin told CNN in September.

But then she added that her ultimate aim would be to dismantle the federal agency.

"If I were head of that, I would get rid of it and I would 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 space," she said. "So, you know, if I were in charge of that, it would be a short-term job. But it would be really great to have someone who knows energy and is pro-responsible development to be in charge."

Secretary of the Interior: Of course, as multiple media outlets pointed out at the time, the Department of Energy mainly oversees the US nuclear weapons program and conducts energy-related research. The current Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, is a nuclear physicist. 

The Department of Energy does not regulate oil and gas development, as Palin appears to have suggested. That responsibility goes to the Department of the Interior, which manages natural resources on land and offshore, including "those things that God has dumped on this part of the earth for mankind's use," that the former Alaska governor referred to in her CNN interview. So this might actually be a better fit for Palin.

And, as some have pointed out, there's always Secretary of State, since comedian Tiny Fey can see Russia from her house (a quote often incorrectly attributed to Palin). 

Of course, before she can land a role in a Trump White House, Palin has to first help Trump land in the White House, and it's not so clear whether her endorsement will help or hurt the brash businessman in his pursuit.

After all, as the Christian Science Monitor's Peter Grier pointed out, she’s helped lose a race like this before.

“As unlikely as it may once have seemed, Trump has won over a significant chunk of Palin’s fan base,” Jim Geraghty wrote in the National Review in September. “It’s an achievement many other Republican candidates probably envy. But it’s far from proven that the path to media stardom also leads to the Oval Office.”

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of 5 free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.