Former Republican congressman and governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd this Sunday that he's moving closer to mounting a primary challenge to our so-called president for 2020, but still refused to acknowledge that it might be better to have a Democrat in office than the man who he just said doesn't deserve to be reelected and is taking the country down the wrong path:
MARK SANFORD: Because, A, the conversation you were just having on the economy, I think, very much ties into this. B, I think we've lost our roots, as Republicans and there needs to be a conversation about what it means to be a Republican. And a lot of folks that you talked to in the polls, the same people that say 86% approve, you look at the numbers in, for instance, the latest poll in New Hampshire. Roughly half of those folks said, "He needs to be challenged," because we need to have that conversation within the Republican Party.
CHUCK TODD: What is that conversation, his character and the debt? What is it? What conversation do you need to have?
MARK SANFORD: Well, it's more than just the debt. Going back to what's happening in the economy at large, in this country and the world, you know, what do we believe, in terms of trade? There's been a radical departure from what Republicans have traditionally believed on that front. What do we believe on the growth of government, spending, and deficits? Radical departure on that front. And the topsy-turvy that I think has frozen up, you know, a fair bit of business investment these days, is to -- what day are we going to get, this day or that day, in the White House? And you know, business, to make investment, needs stability.
CHUCK TODD: Why do you stay in the Republican Party?
MARK SANFORD: Because I'm a Republican. I mean, you know, a lot of people said, "Well, if you're going to run, run as an independent." And I'm like, "No. I'm a Republican." The Republican Party has a great lineage of historically doing some great things right. But it's gone off the tracks of late. We have a cult of personality right now that is at odds with the people who've worked for years and years in the vineyard, trying to make a difference in advancing the conservative cause.
CHUCK TODD: It sounds like you believe the president hasn't earned reelection yet.
MARK SANFORD: No.
CHUCK TODD: Does he deserve reelection?
MARK SANFORD: I would say, no. Because I would argue that he's taking us in the wrong direction. Just take one indicator. If you look at the business investment numbers over the last couple of months, they've been cratering. That's reality. And in part, the reason they're cratering is nobody knows what's going to come next, in terms of trade. And 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. And so I think that there are any number of different things where you'd say, "No. We need a course correction." And we need to have a conversation about that course correction.
CHUCK TODD: If you're unsuccessful, are you going to still support him for president?
MARK SANFORD: Yeah, I'm a Republican.
CHUCK TODD: So you realize, you just said, you don't think he deserves reelection. He's taking us in the wrong direction. But you're still going to be able to vote for him over Joe Biden?
MARK SANFORD: Yeah, everything is relative in politics. And so you know, with all due respect to Warren, the policies that she laid out will exacerbate the problem on spending and the debt and the deficit.
CHUCK TODD: Do you feel the same way about a Joe Biden, though, who may be taking a more, a more-moderate approach?
MARK SANFORD: I've not seen him not embrace a lot of what she's talking about. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is leading the charge right now. You can see it in the polls of late. And so I'm not seeing a great differentiation there. But I may be missing it.
I hate to break it to Sanford, but Trump isn't an aberration. He just says the quiet things you used to say behind closed doors out loud.