Tag Archives: Mark Sanford

Will primary challenge ‘doom’ Trump? Maybe, but …

There once were a few presidential political truisms upon which one could count.

  • Incumbent presidents were almost impossible to defeat.
  • Presidents who faced intraparty challenges on the way to their nominations were damaged goods going into the election; they would lose.

Then along came Donald J. Trump to upset many politically traditional thoughts.

I am looking at the Republican Party challengers that are already running or are considering a run against Trump. Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld already is in the hunt for the GOP nomination. Former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford might get in.

Will either or both of them be able to inflict enough damage on Trump to ensure he gets beat in November 2020? I wish.

Let’s flash back for a moment. President Johnson got challenged in 1968 by Sens. Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy in the Democratic primary. LBJ dropped out. RFK was murdered. Clean Gene lost the nomination to Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who then got beat by Richard Nixon. Republican President Ford faced a 1976 challenge from Ronald Reagan, and then lost the election to Jimmy Carter. President Carter got challenged by Sen. Edward Kennedy in 1980 and then wiped out by Reagan.

The future might seem bleak, then, for Donald Trump as he seeks re-election.

I am not going to count him out strictly on the basis of one or possibly two GOP challengers.

Trump has this way, strange as it seems, of demonizing his foes. He did so in 2016 while wiping out 16 GOP contestants and then as he did against Hillary Rodham Clinton.

What’s more, the cult following the president has developed within the Republican Party voting base suggests to many of us that the core Trump support is going to hold firm no matter what.

I do hope that Weld — and maybe Sanford — can soften up this guy enough for whomever the Democrats nominate, enabling the other party nominee to finish him off in the fall election next year. I want him out of office.

Except that Donald Trump has obliterated so many conventional political norms that it would be folly to presume any sort of tradition will remain true to form.

Sanford: Trump doesn’t deserve re-election, but he gets my vote

Former South Carolina congressman and governor Mark Sanford speaks out both sides of his mealy mouth.

He might run against Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination. He said he doesn’t believe Trump deserves re-election. He might campaign against him in the GOP primary.

But then …

When he’s asked whether he would vote for a Democrat in the (likely) event Trump wins the GOP nomination, Sanford said he is a “core Republican” and that yes, he would vote for Trump over the Democratic nominee.


Let’s ponder two quick points. One is that while Sanford might be a “core Republican,” the president is not. He is a Republican In Name Only who gloms onto GOP policies because they appeal to his base of supporters. He has no pre-presidential history within the once-great political party.

The second point is that Mark Sanford is the guy who, while serving as South Carolina governor, told his staff to lie to the media about his whereabouts. His staff declared the governor was “hiking the Appalachian Trail” while in fact he was taking a tumble in Argentina with the woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

Is this guy any more trustworthy than the president he wants to see defeated but who would get his vote anyhow? At best that is a debatable point.

Former Gov./Rep. Sanford proves that standards have lowered

Do you want proof that Donald Trump’s presidency has lowered the bar for the behavior of our elected officials?

Try this one on for size: Former South Carolina Gov. and U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford is considering challenging the president in the 2020 Republican Party primary.

You remember Sanford. This is the guy who when he was governor of South Carolina decided to travel to Argentina to cavort with a paramour, all the while instructing his gubernatorial staff to tell the media that he was “hiking along the Appalachian Trail.” Yes, the governor ordered his staff to lie about where he was and what he was doing.

The word got out. The media found Sanford in South America where he was taking a tumble with his girlfriend. Sanford’s wife, Jennifer, divorced him. He resigned the governorship, then ran for Congress, only to lose his re-election bid in 2018.

Now he is considering whether to challenge Trump’s re-election next year. Give me a break.

I only can presume that Sanford has calculated that if Donald Trump can be nominated and then elected president — given his own sordid history of lewd and lascivious behavior — then all bets are off.


This guy knows self-inflicted wounds

APPALACHIAN TRAIL, Va. — I sometimes amaze myself at how certain references relate immediately to other — seemingly unrelated — matters.

Our friends were driving us along a winding, rural road and one of them mentioned that we were tooling next to the Appalachian Trail.

“Oh, you mean the trail that Mark Sanford told his staff to lie about when questions arose about his whereabouts?” I said in response. “Yeah, that’s the one,” our friend answered.

We chuckled in the car as we recalled how the former South Carolina governor, and current member of Congress from that state, told his staff to put out the lie that he was “hiking the Appalachian Trail” while in fact he was in Argentina cavorting with a woman who wasn’t his wife.

That scandal didn’t harm Sanford too badly. He ended up in another public office, Congress, which contains its share of fellow rascals.

Then I mentioned that Sanford actually has spoken the truth about Donald J. Trump and the assorted difficulties in which he has become entangled. I noted that Sanford has spoken truthfully about how the president’s troubles are self-inflicted and that Trump should stop resorting to the “fake news” dodge to divert attention away from the kerfuffle that is threatening his presidency.

“Yeah,” our friend responded, “Sanford knows plenty about which he speaks.”

So he does. With that I’ll give Rep. Sanford plenty of props for saying out loud what all of his fellow Republicans ought to be declaring to the president.

Trump vs. The Judges: Pulling for the folks in the robes

Donald J. Trump’s fight with the federal judiciary could be shaping up to be a donnybrook.

The president instituted a temporary restriction on travelers seeking to enter the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries; then U.S. District Judge James Robart in Washington state struck it down, prompting Trump to call Robart a “so-called judge” and said the nation should blame him if a terrorist sneaks into the country and does harm.

There’s more. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing the Trump administration’s appeal and the three-judge panel that heard the case is sounding skeptical of the president’s order.

The plot thickens. If the 9th Court rejects the appeal, then it goes to the U.S. Supreme Court, which at the moment stands at eight members. Suppose, then, that the high court deadlocks — with the four conservative justices voting in favor of the ban and the five liberals oppose it. The lower-court ruling stands.

There’s some chatter now about whether the Supreme Court will be affected in some manner by the untoward things the president has said about the federal judiciary.

Has Trump crossed a serious line? Some scholars believe the president’s Twitter tirades against Robart in particular and the federal bench in general crosses the separation of powers line between the judicial and executive branches of government.

Get a load of this from The Hill:

“The criticism extends beyond judicial scholars.

“Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) warned that Trump’s attacks, if they continue, threaten not only to undermine the separation of powers but also the president’s own policy agenda.

“’We’re a nation of laws and not men, and this idea of ‘follow me because I say so’ is completely at odds with the Founding Fathers’ intent,’ said Sanford, a Trump supporter who has also criticized the president on certain issues.

“’I learned a long time ago in politics [that] attacking the person or the group that will decide your fate on a given issue generally doesn’t work out that well,’ he added.”

This is yet another matter of governance that the brand new president just doesn’t seem to understand.

‘Transparency’ at issue in tax returns


So help me, I don’t know whether to laugh, scream or get roaring drunk after reading this.

South Carolina U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford has called on Donald J. Trump to release his tax returns for public scrutiny.

Here’s part of what Sanford wrote in an op-ed: “To him, demands that he release his tax returns are just a ploy by his opponents and enemies to undermine his campaign. But that obstinacy will have consequences. Not releasing his tax returns would hurt transparency in our democratic process, and particularly in how voters evaluate the men and women vying to be our leaders. Whether he wins or loses, that is something our country cannot afford.”

You need to consider a phrase in this passage, the part about Trump’s failure to release his tax returns would “hurt transparency in our democratic process.”

Here’s the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/15/opinion/i-support-you-donald-trump-now-release-your-tax-returns.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region&_r=1

What makes this so damn hilarious is that it comes from a fellow Republican, Sanford, who — while he was governor of South Carolina — instructed his staff to lie about his whereabouts while he was cavorting in Argentina with a woman who was not his wife.

Do you remember the infamous “hiking the Appalachian Trail” dodge his staffers used to deceive the public over his whereabouts?

Transparency, Rep. Sanford? Did you, of all people, really say that?

Mark Sanford's back in the public eye

Mark Sanford had dropped off my radar. Indeed, I thought he was gone forever.

Until now.

He’s back. The reason has something to do with why he was such a notorious character in the first place.


Back when he was the Republican governor of South Carolina, he famously disappeared for a few days. He told his staff to put the word out he was “hiking on the Appalachian Trail.” Turns out he was cavorting with his mistress — way down yonder in Argentina.

He lied to the public about his whereabouts and as AWOL from his elected duty as governor of the Palmetto State.

What a goofball.

Well, he later got engaged to his “soul mate,” Maria Belen Chapur, after his wife, Jenny, divorced him. He then got elected to Congress, where he served before becoming governor.

Now the nutty guy says he’s calling off his engagement to Chapur, apparently because of continuing difficulties with the former Mrs. Sanford, the one on whom he cheated with Chapur.

“No relationship can stand forever this tension,” wrote Sanford in a Facebook message to Chapur. He alluded to possibly getting re-engaged if his situation with Jenny Sanford calms down. There has been trouble over visitation with one of the couple’s children.

According to MSN.com: “His Facebook posting comes after attorneys for Jenny Sanford last week asked a family court judge to limit the lawmaker’s visitation with his youngest child. They also want Mark Sanford to undergo psychological tests and take anger management and parenting courses.”

Let’s remember that Mark Sanford once slept on his couch in his congressional office so he could be sure to get home every weekend to be with his wife and their children; he cited his belief in strong “family values.” Then he cheats on his wife, lies to his constituents, gets engaged to his mistress, and then breaks off his engagement while lawyers try to get this goober to undergo “anger management and parenting courses.”

Go away, congressman. Please?

New majority leader sleeps on office couch

Recently, I read where the newly elected majority leader of the House of Representatives crashes on a couch in his Washington, D.C. office.

Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., does that — he says — so he can be available to fly home frequently to stay in touch with his constituents.

Just for the record, I’ve commented before on this practice. I long have considered it more of a stunt than anything else.

I still believe that’s the case.

Many members of Congress have professed to do such a thing as a way to be, oh, more “real” to the people they represent back home. My question always is this: Who among a member of Congress’s constituents does that kind of thing?

I keep trying to figure out how living out of a proverbial suitcase in Washington, D.C. makes one more in touch with the home folks than if he or she rents a cheap apartment, hangs his clothes up in a closet, pays some rent and then flies home when it’s convenient.

I wrote a column about that once long ago. I poked a little fun at U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., for living like that. Of course, that was when he was married and was before he took off on that infamous and trumped-up “hike along the Appalachian Trail” when he in fact was in Argentina canoodling with his girlfriend.

A better example of living like your constituents is to move your family to D.C., enroll the kids in school, rent or buy a home and act like a regular family.

This business of sleeping on an office couch makes for snappy campaign-ad fodder that, I suppose, appeals to someone out there.

Me? I prefer my congressman to live like a normal human being.

Waiting for Stockman to come clean

I’m waiting anxiously for U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman’s revelation as to where he’s been hiding out the past few weeks.

The goofy Texas congressman is running for the Senate against incumbent Republican John Cornyn. He made his announcement with a bit of a splash. Then when the ripple disappeared, so did he.

The tea party favorite really doesn’t — or shouldn’t — have a chance in Hades of winning the Republican primary this coming March. But with Texas politics being as volatile as it is — especially on the GOP side — nothing would totally surprise me.

Stockman has been MIA for some time. He has canceled campaign appearances amid some questions about whether he has the endorsements he claims.

Late this past week, he tweeted something about an announcement as to where he’s been. I’m hoping he’ll tell an anxious public where he’s going, such as whether he’s going to keep running for the Senate.

A part of me wishes he’s been hiking along some mysterious trail, a la former Republican South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who had his staff lie about his whereabouts, only to have it revealed he was cavorting in Argentina with a woman other than his then-wife Jenni.

But we’ll see come Monday where Steve Stockman’s been hiding.

Welcome back to the spotlight, congressman.

I hope.