It was with a tweet that President Trump undercut Republican Mark Sanford's primary race and arguably lost him the election in 2018, and it was with a tweet that Mr. Trump slammed the former South Carolina congressman for announcing he'll challenge the sitting president.
Mr. Trump made his attack personal on Monday morning, drudging up Sanford's past relationship with a woman in Argentina while he was married. The president made sure to tag Sanford in his tweet. Sanford officially announced on Sunday that he's running to challenge Mr. Trump.
"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 ... 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!"
Sanford was occasionally critical of the president while in office, and stepped up that criticism when he left. Sanford addressed the president's critique after he announced his candidacy.
"I've discussed it ad nauseum here at home," Sanford told the Washington Examiner in an interview. "The people that [know me] best said: 'Look, we don't approve, or like how you handled [that]. But we know you, we trust you, we believe in you, and we'll send you back to Congress to represent us.' That's a rather amazing personal journey to go on. And, it's a very humbling journey. And so if and when that comes up, I would talk about the lessons learned."
In announcing his candidacy,that "I think we need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican."