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Sen. John McCain caught off guard by Sarah Palin endorsement of Donald Trump

(AP Photos)

PHOENIX — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he was caught off guard by the decision of former running mate Sarah Palin to endorse Donald Trump’s presidency campaign.

“These are very strange times and I do not pretend to be able to predict what is going to happen,” he said Friday. “I am staying out of it.”

McCain said he is concentrating on his own Senate race, especially since Sen. Lindsey Graham called a halt to his presidential campaign in late December.

Though he wasn’t prepared for her to support Trump’s run, McCain said he would not hold it against her.

“We remain very good friends,” he said. “I respect her decision that she has made and it has nothing to do with our personal relationship.”

Though Trump and McCain have a contentious relationship, he said he would support the party’s decision should the party select the billionaire as its 2016 candidate.

In the statement announcing the endorsement, Trump’s campaign described Palin as a conservative who “helped launch the careers of several key future leaders of the Republican Party and conservative movement.”

Palin, once governor of Alaska, ran as vice president on McCain’s ticket in the 2008 election. The pair lost to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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