Sarah Palin Says Immigrants to U.S. Must 'Speak American'

She also defended Trump after his foreign policy stumble.

CPAC 2015

Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, gestures while responding to a question during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Immigrants to the U.S. need to “speak American,” former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said Sunday.

“We can send a message and say you want to be in America, a) you'd better be here legally or you're out of here, b) when you're here, let's speak American,” Palin said when asked on CNN's State of the Union about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's criticism of fellow candidate Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish.

“Let's speak English and that's a kind of a unifying aspect of the nation is the language that is understood by all,” Palin said. 

Palin said she studied both French and Spanish in high school, adding, “I shouldn't have taken them both, because I got them all mixed up by the time I was graduating.”

John McCain's running mate from 2008 she wouldn't mind being energy secretary in a theoretical Trump cabinet. 

“I think a lot about the Department of Energy, because energy is my baby,” said Palin, a former governor of Alaska. “Oil and gas and minerals, those things that God has dumped on this part of the Earth for mankind's use instead of us relying on unfriendly foreign nations.”

CNN points out that Palin in 2008 talked about dissolving the Department of Energy, and in the Sunday interview she said one goal would be to give states more control over resources. Palin also defended Trump against attacks that he's not knowledgeable enough to be president after he stumbled on foreign policy and security questions in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. Palin argued that it would be better to have a tough president than one who has boned up on global affairs. 

“I don't think the public gives a flying flip if somebody knows who, today, is a specific leader of a specific region or a religion or anything,” she said. 

Palin reserved some criticism for President Barack Obama's recent trip to Alaska, which she termed a “tourism jaunt.” A U.S. president, she said, should “carry a big stick. Don't carry a selfie stick.”

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