Former President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance at a campaign event for his former chief spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders who is running for Arkansas governor. 

“Another great weekend on the campaign trail featuring a surprise appearance at one of my events by President Trump!” she wrote on Twitter on Sunday, March 14, with a photo of the visit.

Sanders left the role as White House press secretary in 2019. Trump publicly encouraged her to run for office after she left the White House.  

“She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas—she would be fantastic,” he said on Twitter at the time.

As the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who held the position from 1996 to 2007, Sanders had been widely expected to run for office. She announced her bid less than a week after the end of Trump’s presidency. 

“With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defense,” Sanders said in an online video announcing her candidacy.

“In fact, your governor must be on the front line. So today, I announce my candidacy for governor of Arkansas,” she said.

Sanders received “Complete and Total Endorsement” from the former president, who said she will “always fight” for the people of the state.

“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 said in a statement.

“She loves our Military and Veterans—and her home state of Arkansas. Sarah will be a GREAT Governor,” he added.

Sanders seeks to replace current GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has been in the job since 2015 and cannot be elected again due to the state’s two-term rules. The contest already features two state officials Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Sanders has laid the groundwork for her candidacy. She and her husband launched the Arkansas 30 Day Fund to help small businesses in the state cope with the economic fallout from the CCP Virus (coronavirus) pandemic.