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Mark Sanford says future of GOP isn’t with Trump, reflects on his time in politics

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 6:49 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 28, 2021 at 10:58 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Mark Sanford was South Carolina’s governor, a congressman, a presidential candidate, and the center of a political scandal.

But Sanford still has a lot to say after 25 years in political life and he lays it all out in his new book “Two Roads Diverged: A Second Chance for the Republican Party, the Conservative Movement, the Nation- and Ourselves.”

“It’s almost like centrifugal force right now where we’re spinning out of control. And the problem with centrifugal force is you could end up blowing up the system. And I think we have two great threats to our civilization one is this tribalism at a level I’ve never seen before. And the other is the debt,” he said.

On the state of the Republican Party, he said he didn’t believe the party would be successful if continued to be the party of Trump.

“I think this notion of falling to prey the idea that one man can solve this stuff for you, is absolutely dangerous and absolutely not the American way because our Founding Fathers gave us a system of checks and balances were in powers divided we didn’t want a king or queen and I still don’t,” Sanford said in an interview with WIS. “If you look at the last couple election returns losing the House losing the Senate losing the White House. That’s not exactly a recipe for growing a party.”

When asked for comment on his statements against Former President Trump, the Chairman of the South Carolina GOP wrote:

“Bless his heart.  It just goes to show what he knows about growing the Party here in South Carolina - and it explains why he’s now a “former” elected official,” said Chairman Drew McKissick.

Sanford admits that he and other Republicans who frequently spoke out against the former President are no longer in power. He said some of his colleagues like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, took a different approach.

“His point of view is, look, I want to stay in the system I want to stay relevant, and speaking out against Trump doesn’t seem to be [the way] to get there,” he said.

When asked about the biggest issues facing South Carolina right now, Sanford looked to the state’s infrastructure and institutions.

“We have an avalanche of people coming down our way, and they’re gonna stay,” he said. “The question is do we have the infrastructure to support all these other cars?”

Sanford also said when he was in the Governor’s mansion, people would come to him looking for favors and new jobs.

“A number of folks that came up to me saying, ‘Look I have this, you know, cousin, friend, relative, daughter, son. And, you know, there’s this posting open in terms of this appointment, and can you put them in it?’ And you’re like what? I can no sooner imagine trying to put one of my four boys into one of those posts just because they happen to be blood relatives...but that’s the way the system works,” he said.

In his book, Sanford also does not shy away from the political scandal that dogged his second term as governor. He says he now regrets his extramarital affair.

“All of us have chapters, or days, or moments in our lives when we could push rewind play. But that’s not life, so we end up...we wound others,” he said.

However, he said while he wishes he could redo that chapter of his life, he learned valuable lessons from it.

“I used to read the paper and you read it [and] you’re sort of saying, ‘idiot, idiot, moron. What were they thinking?’

“Now I read the paper and I just kind of think, you know, but by the grace of God go I. And, as the Bible says, you worry a whole lot more about the log in your own eye before you worry about the splinter in somebody else’s. And it’s infused in me a degree of humility that wasn’t there,” he said.

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