Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on Sunday announced he will challenge Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2020, becoming the third member of his party to do so.
Sanford, in an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” said he believes the GOP needs to have a conversation about what it means to be a Republican, adding: “We have lost our way.”
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The former governor, who was also a congressman from 1995 to 2001 and 2013 to 2019, highlighted in particular a need to discuss the country’s ballooning debt and deficits, as well as Trump’s turn toward trade protectionism.
“One of the hallmarks of the Republican Party and the conservative movement has always been: How much do we spend?” Sanford said. offering a nod to the famed University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman.
The candidate also said he wants to shine a light on how “institutions and political culture are being damaged by this president.”
“A tweet is interesting. It may be newsworthy, but it’s not leadership,” he said. “We’re not going to solve some of the profound problems we have as Americans by tweet.”
Sanford expressed regret for the 2009 incident in which he, then a married governor, vanished for several days. One of his aides told inquiring reporters that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he was actually in Argentina visiting his girlfriend, Maria Belen Chapur.
He said he has learned from his mistakes and cited his South Carolina apology tour, which led to his return to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013. “I profoundly apologize for that,” he said. “I believe in the Christian model of repentance.”
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) are also running against Trump.