(CNN) – The Romney campaign first learned of Donald Trump’s decision to endorse Mitt Romney about 24 hours before Trump introduced the presidential candidate at a Las Vegas Hotel. A senior Romney adviser says the flamboyant billionaire businessman essentially told Romney “Hey, I think you’re the best guy for the job and I want to make it public.”
Almost anything could happen with a mercurial guy like Donald Trump on board. He has endorsed and funded many Democrats in years past, and within the past 12 months, he flirted with a Republican presidential run, mocked Romney’s business credentials and changed his party affiliation to independent.
Still, the Romney campaign greets Trump’s endorsement with open arms. “You haven’t seen us turn down any endorsements yet,” said a senior adviser who adds that Trump’s ties to the finance community and his “terrific tea party appeal” could be very helpful moving forward. “Hopefully”, he added “ (Trump) can help raise money and it ain’t like he’s camera shy.”
Nothing has been agreed upon in terms of a role for Trump, but the Romney campaign indicates Trump may be willing to do some grassroots campaigning among what the adviser called “hyper-conservatives”.
Florida exit polls showed Romney beating his chief opponent Newt Gingrich among self-identified tea party members and conservatives, but among those identifying themselves as “very conservative”, Gingrich bested Romney.
When Trump publicly toyed with the idea of running for president, he developed a following among the very conservative Republican faction with his frequent calls on President Barack Obama to produce his birth certificate and his no holes barred criticism of the president’s record.
The campaign, which had come off a rough day of explaining and re-explaining.
The source added that the campaign is actively seeking tea party type endorsements “and all others.”