Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is a “canary in the coalmine” when it comes to the GOP’s relationship with former President Trump, contending that the senator “has a good political nose for his base.”
“But I would use him as a canary in the coalmine and the degree to which he has doubled, tripled and quadrupled down on Trump says everything. Whether you like him or not, he has a good political nose for his base,” Sanford wrote in his memoir, “Two Roads Diverged,” set to be released on Aug. 24.
The Guardian reported on parts of the book, which discusses Sanford’s opposition to former President Trump and Sandord’s extramarital affair that dominated headlines in 2009.
Sanford, who also represented South Carolina in Congress for two stretches of time, said Graham, who he reportedly plays golf with on occasion, “adapts” when holding power is on the line.
“We started in Congress together and he’s very much of a different school on these kinds of things and adapts where he needs to adapt to hold power,” Sanford wrote of the senator, according to The Guardian.
“He knows South Carolina well and his reading the tea leaves is not to be dismissed,” he added.
Sanford’s political career was put on thin ice in 2009, when he admitted to having an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina after going missing for six days when taking a trip to the country.
He faced calls to resign, a flurry of investigations and articles of impeachment, which were eventually dropped. He was ultimately censured for his actions and served out his term, which expired in 2011. Nikki Haley replaced him in the governor’s mansion.
Sanford opined on Trump’s launch into the political world despite allegations of sexual misconduct against him, calling the situation “a cruel joke.”
“In a cosmic sense, it’s like, God, is this just a cruel joke? I went through a rather humbling journey post-2009 wherein, needless to say, within the GOP there were some folks who felt strongly that I’d let them down, which I had…” Sanford wrote in his book.
“And then fast forward and along comes a guy who personifies all of the opposite things that I thought God and circumstance and other people were trying to teach me post-09. And this guy is running for president? And then he gets the nomination and then he becomes president,” he added.
Sanford waged a bid against Trump for the Republican nomination in 2019, arguing that the country needed to “have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican.”
He ultimately dropped out in November of that year.
Sanford writes in his book that he found “everything” about Trump to be objectionable, specifically noting his “lack of humility, the lack of embrace of of conservative ideals that I thought mattered, the lack of a Socratic approach, at least a belief in ideas themselves whether from the left or right, the lack of belief in the institutions that our founding fathers put in place.”
He also took issue with Trump’s idea that the media “could be an enemy of the state.”
“The whole thing was all so contrary to the idea of a pluralistic society and an institution of checks and balances. It’s like this guy would make a great dictator, but that’s not what the American system is about,” he added.
Sanford writes that he is now “a citizen with no country,” abiding by his conservative principles which do not align with the current Republican Party.
“I am a citizen with no country. I am an unabashed conservative in the Jeffersonian sense and right now, if you believe in those ideals, you certainly don’t find it in the Republican Party and it’s even been lost within the movement itself of late because there is no movement,” he writes.