Trump Critic Mark Sanford Launches Bid For GOP Nomination

Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford officially announced that he will challenge President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for president in 2020. Announcing his presidential bid during an interview on “Fox News Sunday," the 59-year-old candidate said, "I think we need to have a conversation on what it means to be a Republican. I think that as a Republican party we have lost our way." "We have lost our way on debts and deficits and spending," the two-time congressman added. "The president has called himself the king of debt, has a familiarity and comfort level with debt that I think is ultimately leading us in the wrong direction." Discussing Trump's frequent use of Twitter, Sanford said a tweet may be "newsworthy, but it's not leadership." "We're not going to solve some of the profound problems we have as Americans by tweet," Sanford said. Sanford apologized for his abrupt disappearance in 2009 while he was Governor. One of his aides misled the media by saying that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, while the married politician was actually in Argentina visiting his girlfriend. Trump referred to this incident in his response to the news of Sanford's presidential bid. "When the former Governor of the Great State of South Carolina Mark Sanford was reported missing, only to then say he was away hiking on the Appalachian Trail, then was found in Argentina with his Flaming Dancer friend, it sounded like his political career was over," Trump tweeted. He added, "It was but then he ran for Congress and won, only to lose his re-elect after I Tweeted my endorsement, on Election Day, for his opponent. But now take heart, he is back, and running for President of the United States." With Sanford's entry into election fray, the number of GOP presidential aspirants has risen to four. Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and former Illinois Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh are the others challenging Trump. Trump called them "The Three Stooges, all badly failed candidates". All three of them face an uphill task to garner support among independent and millennial voters during the Republican primary, as GOP leadership issued a resolution in January to declare the party's undivided support for Trump. The billionaire president is well ahead of his potential Democratic opponents in raising money for the campaign. After the completion of state primaries and party caucuses, the Republican National Convention to elect the party candidate is scheduled for next August. But some state units of the party, including in South Carolina, have reportedly decided not to hold primaries in 2020 to make it easier for Trump to advance to the nomination.