One of few Republicans still considering challenging incumbent president, and presumptive 2020 Republican nominee, Donald Trump admitted this week that there is not a candidate he believes could realistically defeat Trump in the coming election.
“I always like to be real, and I don’t think anybody’s going to beat Donald Trump. That’s my personal opinion,” former South Carolina governor and congressionman Mark Sanford said in an interview Monday with Fox News.
Despite the odds, Sanford told The Post and Courier of Charleston last week that he will not rule out a possible 2020 presidential bid at this time — not when the former governor believes “the Republican Party has lost its way.”
Instead, Sanford told several outlets, he will take the next 30 days to consider the political landscape and how his message might resonate before making a final determination.
Unlike many prominent Republicans, however, Sandford did not cite Trump’s rhetoric and behavior as points of contention — though he did tell CNN Tuesday afternoon that the president’s recent controversial remarks about four Democratic congresswomen were “noxious” and “weird.”
Sandford said he believes that topic has received more than enough emphasis from Trump’s opponents on both sides of the aisle. He said he would prefer to focus on the matters of policy that have driven a wedge between him and the modern Republican Party.
In particular, Sanford pointed to the more than $22 trillion national debt that continues to grow with each passing moment.
Former GOP Rep. Mark Sanford says he’s considering a primary run against President Trump because of his concern over the national debt.
“The place where there is no discussion is the way in which interest is the largest growing expense in the federal government” pic.twitter.com/xpK5PXwfdx
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 16, 2019
“Interest is the largest growing expense in the federal government,” Sanford told CNN. “We will spend more on interest than we do on our national defense bill in just three years.
“Nobody is talking about it.”
In a video released Wednesday, Sanford provided greater detail on his platform and 30-day window of consideration, imploring viewers to join the cause.
“Debt accumulating as ours is now kills dreams,” he said. “It kills opportunities. It’s killed civilizations. …
“We’re living on borrowed time. Our present course can’t end well for us and for those that we love.”
Sanford stressed that a presidential run is not the only potential way forward and asked those who viewed his video to reach out with suggestions on how best to spark the national conversation he is seeking to create.
The former governor and representative also suggested that an advocacy organization might be in the works to help address the issue in Washington.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, a friend and fellow Republican already declared to be running against Trump for the 2020 nomination, told ABC News that he would “welcome” a Sanford ticket, suggesting that taking Trump on in the field together would be the best way to spark a national discussion.
“It is critical that Republicans and independents have serious, thoughtful alternatives to Donald Trump. Otherwise, I fear the party is in deep trouble,” Weld wrote in a statement.
“It is critical that Republicans and independents have serious, thoughtful alternatives to Donald Trump. Otherwise, I fear the party is in deep trouble.”
Full statement: pic.twitter.com/EgWPHphLHW
— Will Steakin (@wsteaks) July 18, 2019
“Mark is a friend and I would love to see him on the trail,” he said.
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