How Sarah Palin paved the way for Donald Trump

Meanwhile, Donald Trump watched Palin’s rise as she channeled — and fueled — the anger felt by many voters toward Washington. Many of these voters described President Obama as a socialist, a Muslim or not American.

On that last point, Trump was relentless. He repeatedly doubted that Obama was born in the U.S. He questioned documents showing that the president was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Trump asserted in a 2011 interview with NBC that Obama “doesn’t have a birth certificate or he hasn’t shown it. He has what’s called a certificate of live birth,” and for Trump that wasn’t proof enough.

As Trump promoted the so-called “birther” movement, Palin cheered him on, telling Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, “I respect what he’s doing in putting his money where his mouth is. He’s actually investigating his speculation there on Obama’s birth certificate.”

But Palin saw an opportunity for Trump to do more. She urged him to speak out on other topics.