Live

Watch CBSN Live

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford mulls 2020 challenge to Trump

Mark Sanford, the former Republican South Carolina governor and congressman, is considering a GOP presidential bid against President Trump, CBS News has confirmed.

A spokeswoman for Sanford confirmed that he is "actively considering" a bid but has set no timetable on when he might make a final announcement.

Sanford, who served as South Carolina governor from 2003 to 2011, previously served in Congress from 1995 to 2001. He won re-election to Congress in 2013 and re-election in 2014 and 2016, but lost a 2018 primary challenge in part because President Trump endorsed his opponent.

"Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA," Mr. Trump tweeted last year during Sanford's campaign. "He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina, Mr. Trump added, referring to Sanford's infamous 2009 trip to Argentina when he tried to secretly visit his mistress while he was governor. At the time, Sanford had claimed he had been hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

Sanford had publicly questioned the president's conservative bona fides and decision-making and earned the ire of the president. Mr. Trump has since cited Sanford's loss as proof of the political perils of crossing him. 

Sanford declined to comment directly to CBS News about his potential run. Earlier Tuesday, he told The Post and Courier newspaper in Charleston, S.C. that "sometimes in life you've got to say what you've got to say, whether there's an audience or not for that message," Sanford said. "I feel convicted."

"I'm a Republican. I think the Republican Party has lost its way on debt, spending and financial matters," he added.

So far, only former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is mounting a primary bid against Mr. Trump.  Earlier this year, ormer Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan both took a pass on challenging him in a primary. However, Kasich does not appear to have absolutely ruled out a run. In May, he told CNN, "Right now, there's no path [to the presidency]," then added, "But we never know what the future is going to bring."

The Trump campaign declined to comment on a possible Sanford presidential challenge. 

Emily Tillett contributed reporting. 

View CBS News In