- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 18, 2019

Former Rep. Mark Sanford on Sunday said President Trump does not deserve reelection but he would still support him, as a Republican, over a Democratic nominee if he falls short in a long-shot bid to primary the sitting leader.

Mr. Sanford, who lost his own primary last year, says he may challenge Mr. Trump in 2020 because Republicans need to have a serious conversation about where they’re heading on spending, debt and trade. He says the GOP has lost its way.

“Where in the world are we going with unprecedented levels of debt, unprecedented levels of deficit going forward, unprecedented levels of spending? Where are we going, as a Republican Party, in terms of what comes next?” he said.

Mr. Sanford cited trade as one place where Mr. Trump is playing with fire.

“Nobody knows what’s going to come next out of the White House, in terms of policy. That is not the kind of environment where businesses invest,” Mr. Sanford said.

Mr. Sanford lost his 2018 primary after Mr. Trump called him “very unhelpful” and endorsed his opponent, Katie Arrington, who in turn lost to Democrat Joe Cunningham in the general race.

The former congressman chastised those who say a primary run would be a vanity project, saying he’d be doing it on behalf of his four sons and their ability to achieve the American dream.

“If you look at the debt and deficit numbers right now, we are in troubling waters that have not only implications, in terms of the economy here and now and what’s going to happen next, but frankly, their ability to build wealth over time,” he said.Mr. Sanford hasn’t officially launched a primary, though said he’ll have to decide soon.

He knows it would be hard to primary a sitting president, saying he’d become a “human piñata.”

But he noted that Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor, is already giving it a try.

“You know the more, the merrier,” he said. “I’m glad Bill Weld’s is in … I’m sure there are much better candidates out there than I am. But we’ve got to have this conversation, as a nation and as Republicans.”

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