CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Former Congressman and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is considering a run against Donald Trump for the presidency in 2020.
Sanford appeared on CNN Tuesday afternoon and said he would explore the notion of running for the White House over the next 30 days.
Sanford said he was considering a run for the presidency because he believes “we’re walking away toward the most predictable financial crisis in the history of man.”
“There is little to no – I guess I’d say no discussion of debt, deficit and government spending these days,” he said. “I’ve watched two Democratic presidential debates and there’s been zero discussion on both of them as to this issue. The President said we’re not going to touch the very things that drive debt and spending. So I think that, you know, we’re walking away into one heck of a financial storm, and there’s no discussion, and yet presidential years have historically been the year in which we do discuss these things.”
Sanford said his decision was not prompted by a growing level of criticism against the president on recent posts on Twitter some have deemed racist and targeting four members of Congress.
“There's more than enough commentary, I was just sitting on set and listening to, you know, people discussing both sides of the President's comments,” Sanford said. “I think that they're noxious. And they're weird. And they're all those different things that people discussing. But there is, again, plenty of discussion on that front. The place where there's no discussion is the way in which, you know, interest is the largest growing expense in the federal government.”
Sanford says America will spend more on interest than on its national defense bill in just three years. When national security issues are discussed, Sanford says, what’s left out of the discussion is a prediction of Adm. Mike Millen, former chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, who called the debt and deficit as the biggest security threat.
“And I’m not sure that the presidential run is the way, maybe it started advocacy group. But we have got to, again, register this in this presidential year, in this presidential race in a way that is currently not finding currency. I think that’s a real problem. And that’s why I’m going to explore here for the next 30 days on go versus no-go.”
South Carolina’s Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick came out sharply against Sanford Tuesday morning. The state party has until Oct. 1 to tell the Republican National Committee whether the state will hold a Republican presidential primary. It’s unclear whether Republican Governor Henry McMaster would support such a move
“The last time Mark Sanford had an idea this dumb, it killed his governorship," McKissick said in a statement. "This makes about as much sense as that trip up the Appalachian trail.”
“We look forward to seeing Mark on the trail," the South Carolina Democratic party said in a statement. "Always nice to see a candidate with fewer extra marital affairs than the president.”
Trump has already made his distaste for Sanford well known.
During a Columbia rally to endorse McMaster for governor in 2018, he took a jab at Sanford’s extramarital affair with an Argentinian woman, but referred erroneously to a different trail.
“The Tallahassee Trail – must be a beautiful place, Trump said. "Unfortunately, he didn’t go there,”
The statement’s reference to the Appalachian Trail refers to a trip then-Gov. Sanford made to Argentina in 2008 to visit the woman he said he met during a trade conference there.
During Sanford’s trip, his staff first claimed Sanford was away on a hiking trip of the trail. Sanford held a news conference at the Statehouse on June 24, 2009, in which he acknowledged being unfaithful to his wife.
Holding back tears, he apologized to family, friends, staffers and the people of South Carolina as he admitted to a year-long affair. He also announced he would resign as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
Trump also tweeted about Sanford in a supportive statement for Arrington just before the June 2018 primary. During a closed-door meeting of Republican house members, Trump called Sanford a, “nasty guy.”
The only current Republican who has announced that he will challenge Trump is Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.