Former South Carolina Governor and U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford began trending on social media early Friday because of an explosive Politico story titled “I’m a dead man walking” in which the Republican politician bashed President Donald Trump.
He said that the former reality star “fanned the flames of intolerance” and relies on “hyperbole” and “wild suggestion” rather than facts.
Sanford may seem like an odd messenger for probity in politics. His career was nearly undone by a 2009 scandal in which he disappeared from the governor’s mansion, falsely claiming to be hiking the Appalachian trail while engaging in an extramarital affair with an Argentinean woman.
The scandal led to both official censure — and divorce from his wife, Jenny.
“If you’ve already been dead, you don’t fear it as much. I’ve been dead politically,” said Sanford, who won a special election in 2013 to reclaim his House seat.
Check out the top five digs at Trump from the story:
1. Trump has “fanned the flames of intolerance,” Sanford said, pointing to a “lack of humility by using the National Prayer Breakfast to ridicule Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings on ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.'”
2. “I’ve got to be careful,” Sanford said when asked if Trump is an honest man. “Because people who live in glass houses can’t throw stones.”
3. Sanford explained why Trump doesn’t impress him: “Because at some level he represents the antithesis, or the undoing, of everything I thought I knew about politics, preparation and life.”
4. “I believe in a war of ideas … and I tell the staff all the time: Look, we’re in the business of crafting and refining our arguments that are hopefully based on the truth,” Sanford said of Trump sharing misleading or inaccurate information. “Truth matters. Not hyperbole, not wild suggestion, but actual truth.”
5. Sanford is concerned on a fundamental level because “Historically there’s incredible deference to the presidency from the party in power” and Trump “has a proven record of taking people down.”
6. “All of a sudden a guy comes along where facts don’t matter?” Sanford said. “It’s somewhat befuddling. It’s the undoing of that which you base a large part of your life on.”
7. “You want to give anybody the benefit of the doubt. I mean, I’ve learned that through my own trials and tribulations,” Sanford said. “But if you see a pattern of over and over and over again, wherein facts don’t matter and you can just make up anything … Our republic was based on reason. The Founding Fathers were wed to this notion of reason. It was a reason-based system. And if you go to a point wherein it doesn’t matter, I mean, that has huge implications in terms of where we go next as a society.”