The former South Carolina representative is mulling a long-shot bid against Trump for the Republican primary and he told NBC on “Meet the Press” Sunday that the President doesn’t deserve to be reelected because Trump is taking the country in the “wrong direction.” Sanford said there needs to be a “course correction.”
But if it comes to voting for Trump or a Democrat, Sanford said he would have to back the President.
“Yeah, I’m a Republican,” Sanford said. “Everything is relative in politics,” he added.
Sanford lost his primary race last year after criticizing Trump. The President endorsed Sanford’s opponent, Republican Katie Arrington, hours before the polls closed and attacked him in a tweet for being “very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA.” Arrington later lost the election to Democrat Joe Cunningham.
In July, Sanford told CNN’s Brianna Keilar he would explore a possible candidacy. He said there has been “no discussion of debt, deficit and government spending in Washington these days,” and that would be a focal point of his candidacy.
At the time, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, Drew McKissick, said in a statement, “The last time Mark Sanford had an idea this dumb, it killed his Governorship. This makes about as much sense as that trip up the Appalachian trail.”
In 2009, then-Governor Sanford infamously disappeared for a few days and told the public he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. He later admitted he was in Argentina carrying on an extramarital affair.
If Sanford decides to run, he would join former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who announced in April he officially entered the race to challenge Trump in 2020.
Sanford has been a frequent critic of the President. After the shooting at congressional Republicans’ baseball practice in 2017, Sanford said on MSNBC that Trump is “partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed” in American politics. He told Politico Magazine the same year that Trump had “fanned the flames of intolerance,” and said it was “befuddling” that “facts don’t matter” with Trump.