Editor's note: This story has been updated.
ANKENY, Iowa — Conservative media personality Glenn Beck on Saturday endorsed Ted Cruz for president, sharply contrasting him with his closest competition here 9 days before the caucuses.
At a rally in this Des Moines suburb, Beck, a Dallas-based radio host, made his support official, criticizing billionaire Donald Trump as an egomaniac not unlike President Barack Obama, who Beck said cannot be trusted.
The endorsement, which came after Beck led Cruz through a mock oath of office, was billed as the first time Beck has formally thrown his support behind a presidential candidate.
“We need a new George Washington,” Beck said in a statement. “Today’s Washington will not be found in the garish light of gold, but rather, in the bold service of a man who stands tirelessly for what he deeply believes — that government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people."
At the rally, Beck delivered an extensive critique of Trump, painting him as a false prophet whose narcissism is the "tell of a progressive president." Beck specifically pounced on Trump's admission last year that he has never asked for forgiveness from God.
"It's up for him to ask for God's forgiveness, but I would like to suggest to you that the man owes America an apology, and he should ask conservatives in America for forgiveness," Beck said, raising a slew of positions Trump has taken that are out of step with most Republican primary voters.
Beck urged Iowans to stop Trump dead in his tracks when they caucus Feb. 1, suggesting the billionaire could go on to win the nomination if he prevails in the Hawkeye State."If Donald Trump wins, it's going to be a snowball to hell," Beck said.
Anticipating the endorsement, Trump used a rally earlier Saturday in Sioux Center to berate Beck as a "sad sack" with a penchant for crying and whose show is on the decline.
"I would much rather have Sarah Palin than Glenn Beck," Trump said, referring to the former Alaska governor who endorsed him Tuesday — notably over Cruz, whom she backed for the Senate.
Asked by reporters in Ankeny about the dueling endorsements, Cruz reiterated his admiration for Beck and Palin but said it is up to voters to "determine who is a proven conservative, who has a consistent conservative record."
Beck announced his endorsement at the start of Cruz's final trip to Iowa before the Feb. 1 caucuses. Cruz was set to appear at another rally with Beck later Saturday in Waterloo.