JOHNSTON — Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, a Republican who is considering a primary challenge against President Trump in 2020, has just wrapped up a two-day visit to Iowa.
“I think that as a Republican Party, we’ve lost some of our ways,” Sanford said. “I mean, for instance traditionally one of the hallmarks of the Republican Party was about financial conservatism, about not getting ahead of your skis in terms of spending and being prudent on that front. If you look at the numbers as of late, they’ve exploded and so we’re seeing trillion-plus dollar deficits.”
The federal budget deficit is 27 percent higher this year than it was a year ago and is projected to top $1.1 trillion at the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30. Sanford said it’s time for major federal spending cuts, including reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits. He warned there’s “scary stuff ahead” for the country’s economy if deficits continue to balloon.
“This is going to be the most significant financial storm that we have seen — I would argue — since the Great Depression. I would argue that it would to be greater than what we saw in 2008. It’s going to diminish and destroy people’s dreams and their hopes going forward if we don’t get ahead of this curve,” Sanford said. “because the history of man is if you don’t pro-actively deal with these numbers and simply wait for the financial markets to do it for you, the process is bloody.”
Sanford cited Trump’s trade policies added that Trump’s tweets aren’t helping either.
“The real questions of tone and humility and adherence to truth that I think cause people to doubt what he says next,” Sanford said, “which then undermines our standing in the world and domestically.”
Sanford was considered a rising star in the GOP until a very public affair and the end of his marriage. Sanford said today he in no way will justify that chapter in his life, but Sanford said it was not him, but a staffer who said Sanford was hiking the Appalachian Trail rather than flying to South America to see another woman.
“I think the question in the wake of those kind of things is: Where do you go from here?…Do I have baggage? Yes, absolutely, but I also recognize the fact that I have baggage, recognize the fact that I am imperfect, ” Sanford said. “I think that’s in strong contrast to what the president’s said, wherein he regrets nothing in his life.”
Sanford, who has said he’ll make a decision about running for president around Labor Day, has long supported a wall along the southern border, as well as laws to punish businesses that hire undocumented workers. According to Sanford, no additional miles of border wall have been built during Trump’s time in the Oval Office and Sanford said that is, in part, what has created “mayhem” at the border.
“I think at times he’s good at recognizing problems, but he’s rough on implementation or makes situations worse,” Sanford said, “and I think this is one of ’em.”
Sanford said U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan — and congress should be required to debate and approve any deployment of U.S. troops to a foreign country. Sanford made his comments Thursday during taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program.