Ousted Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina said his fellow Republicans are “running for the hills” because they can’t deal with President Trump’s “lies.”
In an interview with NBC’s CMCSA, +0.18% “Meet the Press,” Sanford admitted that he knows all about lying — referencing a sensational 2009 sex scandal that ended his governorship.
“We all know the story of 2009 and my implosion … I own it,” said Sanford, defeated in the GOP primary this week by a Trump-backed Republican.
“But there were incredible consequences — financially, politically, socially, lost my marriage, I can go down a long list.”
He continued: “And so maybe the reason I’m so outspoken on this now is there is no seeming consequence to the president and lies. And if we accept that as a society, it is going to have incredibly harmful consequences in the way that we operate going forward based on the construct of the founding fathers.”
Sanford became a national punch line in 2009 when he — as governor of South Carolina — went missing from the state, claiming he’d gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail. It turned out he was in Argentina, romancing a mistress.
Sanford recovered from that humiliation to win election to Congress in 2013 — before he was voted out of office on Tuesday night in the GOP primary.
When “MTP” host Chuck Todd asked Sanford why Trump’s biggest GOP critics — such as Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker — are those headed out of office, the soon-to-be former lawmaker bluntly said: “People are running for the hills.”
There’s too high a political price to pay for Republicans to stand up to Trump, according to Sanford.
“What you do as an elected official is — an old-time senator told me years ago, ‘The name of the game is staying in the game,’ ” he said.