Elections

Trump tweets about Mark Sanford’s affair after former SC governor announces challenge

VIDEO: Barton Swaim talks about Gov. Mark Sanford Affair

Former Sanford staffer, Barton Swaim, says his book about the how revelations about an extramarital affair affected operations in SC Governor Mark Sanford's administration wasn't intended to be a typical political tell-all.
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Former Sanford staffer, Barton Swaim, says his book about the how revelations about an extramarital affair affected operations in SC Governor Mark Sanford's administration wasn't intended to be a typical political tell-all.

Hours after Mark Sanford announced his run for the White House, President Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday to let Sanford know — again — explicitly how he feels about the primary challenge from South Carolina’s former governor.

Sanford declared his candidacy Sunday, a day after the S.C. GOP executive committee voted to ditch the 2020 presidential primary.

“When the former Governor of the Great State of South Carolina @MarkSanford, was reported missing, only to then say he was away hiking on the Appalachian Trail, then was found in Argentina with his Flaming Dancer friend, it sounded like his political career was over. It was,” Trump tweeted Monday morning.

Trump continued: “but then he ran for Congress and won, only to lose his re-elect after I Tweeted my endorsement, on Election Day, for his opponent. But now take heart, he is back, and running for President of the United States. The Three Stooges, all badly failed candidates, will give it a go!”

“The Three Stooges” refers to Sanford and Trump’s two other primary challengers: former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld.

Trump’s Twitter swipe on Sanford’s famous 2009 marital affair isn’t entirely accurate.

While governor, Sanford famously put his staff and the state in the dark during his second term in the summer of 2009, when he went to Argentina to continue an affair with Maria Belen Chapur. Sanford said he had been hiking on the Appalachian Trail instead.

Chapur was a former television news reporter at the time of the affair with Sanford, not a “Flaming Dancer” (or flamenco dancer, as Trump likely intended to say).

On his way back from Argentina, Sanford was confronted near baggage claim at the Atlanta airport by a reporter with The State.

Trump, who himself has been at the center of affair allegations, has mocked Sanford over his affair before.

In August, he referred to Sanford as “Mr. Appalachian Trail.”

And last summer, when Trump stumped for Gov. Henry McMaster in Cayce during the governor’s campaign, the president heaped praise on Sanford’s 1st District Congressional seat opponent, former state Rep. Katie Arrington.

Arrington ultimately lost in the midterms to Democrat Joe Cunningham.

“She was out campaigning against a guy I’ve never liked much,” Trump said at the June 2018 S.C. rally. “Tallahassee Trail, it must be a very beautiful place. Unfortunately, he didn’t go there.”

As of Monday, Sanford had not tweeted back at the president.

However, he told The State Sunday he would “absolutely” go after Trump’s character in the weeks and months to come.

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Maayan Schechter (My-yahn Schek-ter) covers the S.C. State House and politics for The State. She grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and graduated from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She has previously worked at the Aiken Standard and the Greenville News.
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