Republican Representative Mark Sanford (of the Appalachian Trail) (R-SC) was the first elected Republican to my knowledge who had the courage to call out Gianforte’s assault of a reporter as part of the Age of Trump.
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) May 25, 2017
Sanford votes to enable Trump, but his words here are important no matter what weight he does or doesn’t put behind them, because the Republican Party has so few elected officials with any moral principles that compel them to take a stand against Trump.
Yes, I realize it’s odd that I’m using the words moral principle about Mark Sanford, who cheated on his wife and lied to his constituents about where he was. But here he is, saying something that desperately needs to be said, and so few have the courage to say. While his private affairs don’t concern me as they don’t impact his constituents, the fact that he couldn’t be found for a while when he disappeared with his mistress was an issue.
People can be complex. Or perhaps not. It wasn’t too long ago that President Trump was threatening Sanford. As Trumpcare V. 1 was falling apart, Trump decided to threaten to oust Sanford unless he cooperated.
“The South Carolina Republican told The Post and Courier that Trump chose to convey this message through an intermediary: White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, a former member of the S.C. congressional delegation, co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus and a friend,” the Post and Courier reported.
Here’s the thug style threat:
“‘The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted ‘no’ on this bill so he could run (a primary challenger) against you in 2018,'” Sanford said Mulvaney told him.
Sanford knows first hand what Trump’s rhetoric and style are creating, because the President threatened him in a style better suited for low-level mob types.
Donald Trump doesn’t do diplomacy. He uses dangerous rhetoric and strong-arm tactics to get what he wants.
Mark Sanford has stood up to Donald Trump before this. He is one of the few Republicans who has. Whether it’s his upper crust Southern distaste for brash rudeness or a genuine policy disagreement or both can’t be known. But no matter what, it takes courage in the modern day GOP to disagree with Trump.
We need more Sanfords and less Rep. Duncan Hunters (R-CA).
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.