Sanford made the announcement on Fox News Sunday, telling host Chris Wallace that one of the reasons he is running is because “the Republican Party has lost its way.”
“As a Republican Party, we have lost our way, and I’d say so on a couple of different fronts. First and sort of the epicenter of where I’m coming from is that we have lost our way on debt and deficits and spending,” Sanford said. “One of the hallmarks of the Republican Party and the conservative movement has always been how much do we spend … The president has called himself the king of debt, has a familiarity and comfort level with debt that I think is ultimately leading us in the wrong direction.”
Mark Sanford on his Republican primary challenge to Trump: "I think we need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican. I think that as a Republican Party, we have lost our way." pic.twitter.com/4FsZWjnDQy
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 8, 2019
Sanford made national news when, as governor of South Carolina, he disappeared for a week in 2009. Sanford told his staff that he was going hiking on the Appalachian Trail when he was actually engaged in an extramarital affair. He spoke to Wallace about the controversy and used it to differentiate himself from Trump:
“I actually went on an apology tour, if you want to call it that, back home in the wake of that for the last year and a half of my governorship … It is something of great regret. It’s something I have apologized extensively for and in contrast to the president when he says there’s not a single thing that he sort of regrets or apologizes for. I profoundly apologize for that,” Sanford said.
Sanford’s bid to oust Trump was made even tougher on Saturday after South Carolina’s Republican Party, Sanford’s home state, voted to opt out of its presidential primary.
The resolution to opt out of the 2020 presidential caucus has passed. A vote to endorse and bind the delegates to the President will be held at a later date.
— Nevada GOP (@NVGOP) September 7, 2019
The former governor joins former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, who have also thrown their hats into the GOP presidential primary ring.