Is the long-standing love affair between Fox News and President Donald J. Trump hitting some rough waters?
The President said over the weekend that he “was unhappy,” with Fox News, and that “something is going on over there.”
The comments came in response to a question tossed at Trump about the network’s recent survey showing the President losing head-to-head matchups against four of the top Democratic presidential primary candidates. Trump’s full reply to the reporter was “There’s something going on at Fox [News], I’ll tell you right now. And I’m not happy with it.”
The President quickly added that he didn’t “believe” the poll, adding, “Fox has changed. My worst polls have always been from Fox.”
He then went on to complain about how Democrats had barred the network from hosting or televising the party’s 2020 primary debates and signaled a warning about the general election cycle.
“And I think Fox is making a big mistake,” the president said when asked about the polling and the network’s leadership. “Because, you know, I’m the one that calls the shots on that — on the really big debates.”
A New Target?
President Trump railing against the news media is nothing new, but the usually “Trump Friendly” Fox News has rarely been the target of his ire. But, lately, Trump has increasingly lumped in Fox News with the rest of his “enemies” for what he views as unfavorable coverage.
Earlier this year he had admonished his “favorite network” for providing a forum for 20202 Democratic candidates. Trump took jabs at Fox News over the network’s town halls with Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders in April and Pete Buttigieg in May.
The polls in question that caused the current spat between Trump and Fox showed Trump’s approval rating in the low 40s and had him losing by six or more points to Democratic 2020 rivals Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Of course, Trump questioned the veracity of the polls, but he seemed more upset that Fox had the audacity to report the actual results of its own poll.
The President also teed off on Fox News political analyst Juan Williams, who Trump said, “has never said a positive thing” — following up on a tweet earlier in the day in which he called Williams “pathetic,” “nasty” and “wrong.”
However, like all lovers that have a bit of a falling out, Trump went on to list “his partner’s” good qualities, following up his comments outside of Marine One on Sunday with, “I’m certainly happy [with]– I think Sean Hannity, and Lou Dobbs, and I think Tucker Carlson and Laura and Jesse Watters, and Jeanine. We have a lot of great people.”
When it comes to healthcare, Democratic 2020 hopeful Kamala Harris seems to still be struggling to get her story straight. What she truly believes seems to vacillate, especially when she is speaking to a group of wealthy donors at a fundraiser in the Hamptons, and not the American public on the debate stage.
The Daily Beast among other outlets has reported that the Democrat had waffled once again on her support for Medicare for All. “I support Medicare for All,” she told the crowd of wealthy donors. But as you may have noticed, over the course of the many months, I’ve not been comfortable with Bernie’s plan, the Medicare for All plan.”
This despite being the cosponsor of Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill. What really seems to have Harris backpedaling faster than a rewinding video of Lance Armstrong is one of the proposed legislation’s major features — the elimination of private insurance.
In late July, she finally released her own version of a “Medicare-for-all” bill, which, in a departure from Sanders’s proposal, would maintain a role for private insurance within a universal public system. Why would she do that? As her rival and bill’s cosponsor Bernie Sanders might say, “it’s all about the Benjamins.”
In other words, Harris, who unlike Bernie who has made elimination of for-profit insurance a key part of his vision for healthcare – is afraid to piss off wealthy donors and corporate interests. In fact, David Sirota, a Sanders campaign adviser, wrote in his newly minted newsletter, Bern Notice, “The Harris flip flop is a reminder that while Medicare for All received an enthusiastic response at Bernie’s Fox News townhall in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania — it doesn’t get that kind of response on the big dollar fundraising circuit in the Hamptons.”
The debate between Harris and Sanders on the healthcare issue is partly about a difference between Sanders’s proposal, which would eliminate private insurance, and Harris’s, which would preserve a role for insurers in the health care system. But by seizing on Harris’s remarks — and the venue where she made them — the Sanders campaign is connecting their healthcare plan to their candidate’s larger argument on corporate greed.
Harris Has Been All Over the Map on Healthcare
Harris really has been all over the place on Healthcare. Before she released “her plan,” it was nearly impossible to get any consistency from the candidate on healthcare. As stated earlier, she signed on to Sanders’s single-payer Medicare-for-all bill, and soon after, she was on the trail, publicly backing his idea to get rid of private insurance entirely, saying “let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on,” at a CNN town hall in January. She then walked that back, saying that she meant getting rid of “bureaucracy.”
Later on in April, at another CNN townhall, she emphasized that there would be some role for private insurance under Sanders’s bill, even though the Sanders Medicare for All Act would reduce private insurance’s role to things like cosmetic surgery or premium hospital rooms. And then, during the Democratic debate in June, Harris raised her hand when NBC’s Lester Holt asked, “Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favorite of a government-run plan?”
But she then walked that back to say she misunderstood the question, saying she personally would prefer to enroll in public insurance.
In fact, since becoming an upper-tier contender for the Democratic nomination, every time she seemingly endorsed the actual bill she cosponsored, she’s eventually walked it back.
On the other hand, Sanders has remained steadfast in painting corporate America as the “enemy of the people.” He sees a for-profit health care system as fundamentally broken. His campaign platform is centered on fighting the greed of major corporate interests, whether pharmaceutical companies, the fossil fuel industry, or private insurance industry.
In a speech about Medicare-for-all in June, he pledged to reject money from the insurance and drug companies, and called on other presidential candidates to do the same.
For Sanders’s campaign — healthcare, like everything else is all about his perceived influence of the wealthy. But, in Harris’s case he may be right given her propensity to flip-flop on the issue.
The New York Post and other news outlets are reporting that dead and gone, proven pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, once had three 12-year-old girls from poor families flown in from France as a sick birthday present for himself.
Just when you thought Epstein couldn’t get any more vile, according to newly unearthed court documents, Virginia Giuffre — who has claimed Epstein and his gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell coerced her into being a “sex slave” when she was 15 — said that the girls who were flown in were molested by the financier and returned to France the following day.
“The worst one that I heard from his own mouth was this pretty 12-year-old girls he had flown in for his birthday,” she said, according to the court documents.
“It was a surprise birthday gift from one of his friends and they were from France. I did see them, I did meet them,” she said.
She said they were a gift from Epstein’s acquaintance Jean-Luc Brunel, a model scout, according to the Daily Mail. “Jeffrey bragged afterward after he met them that they were 12-year-olds and flown over from France because they’re really poor over there, and their parents needed the money or whatever the case is and they were absolutely free to stay and flew out.”
Revelations Part of an Ongoing Case
The allegations were revealed in 2015 court papers, as part of a 2008 civil lawsuit filed by two Epstein accusers against the US following a plea deal that they argued violated the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act.
Despite Epstein’s death, civil proceedings are allowed to continue, and the case is still ongoing. Federal Judge Kenneth Mara recently ruled that Florida federal prosecutors acted illegally when they failed to inform Epstein’s underage victims of the wrist-slap deal — which included a non-prosecution agreement that shielded the financier’s alleged co-conspirators.
Epstein, who served just 13 months in prison after pleading guilty to having sex with a minor, hanged himself in a Manhattan jail cell Aug. 10 while being held on federal sex-trafficking charges, authorities said.
Giuffre said Epstein had described to her how the girls had messaged him and performed oral sex, according to the Daily Mail.
“He went on to tell me how Brunel ‘bought them’ in Paris from their parents, offering them the usual sums of money, visas, and modeling career prospects,” she said, according to the London based news outlet.
“Laughing the whole way through, Jeffrey thought it was absolutely brilliant how easily money seduced all walks of life, nothing or no one that couldn’t be bought.”
The same civil suit filed against the Miami US Attorney’s Office alleged that young girls from South America and Eastern Europe also were recruited for sex with Epstein.
The multimillionaire financier invested $1 million to help launch Brunel’s Miami-based modeling firm MC2 in return for a “supply of girls on tap,” according to the lawsuit.
MC2 has continually denied any connection to Epstein’s crimes and previously said Brunel no longer actively works for the firm.
“I strongly deny having committed any illicit act or any wrongdoing in the course of my work as a scouter or model agencies manager,” he told The Guardian, another London paper.
In an apparent response to the most offensive actions and recent comments of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. The U.S. State Department has recently updated its official definition of “anti-semitism.”
The previous definition of anti-semitism, issued in May by the State Department, listed 10 examples. The revised definition now lists 11 examples, adding one that now includes “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” as a form of anti-semitism.
The leader of a U.S.-based pro-Israel organization has praised the move.
“Kudos to @SecPompeo and Special Envoy Elan Carr,” Adam Milstein, a philanthropist and co-founder of the Adam and Gila Milstein Foundation, wrote on Twitter. “It’s more clear now, the BDS Movement is disgustingly Antisemitic.”
“BDS” as used in the tweet, refers to the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, whose supporters call for the withdrawal of financial support for the Israeli government in protest of the treatment of Palestinian people.
The State Department revision follows last month’s overwhelming bipartisan 398-17 vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to oppose BDS and any international effort to boycott Israel.
Omar Has Made Her Support of BDS Clear
Omar cast one of the 17 dissenting votes on the resolution mentioned above. The freshman Representative, one of the so-called “Squad,” countered with a resolution of her own, supporting the right to boycott foreign governments “to advocate for human rights abroad,” and likening the action to boycotts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Her resolution did not mention Israel or the Palestinians — but she made her intention clear when she spoke with reporters.
“We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” Omar told Al-Monitor. “And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”
Israeli Officials Express Some “Concern” Over the Resolution
Meanwhile, according to Fox News, nearly two dozen members of Israel’s parliament sent a letter to Congress on August 8, thanking them for the resolution opposing the international effort to boycott Israel but, warned that some of the language in the resolution “would be far more dangerous” to the country.
As stated above, the resolution put the House on record opposing the BDS movement and its efforts to target U.S. companies doing business with Israel.
However, the letter, (a copy of which was obtained by Fox News) expressed “a concern” regarding the “anti-BDS resolution.” The letter read, in part, “We believe [the Congressional Resolution] contains a grave error because it expresses, among other things, support for a so-called ‘Two-State Solution,’ meaning the establishment of a ‘Palestinian state’ in the heart of tiny Israel.
The members of Israel’s parliament also wrote, “We would like to make our position clear that the establishment of a Palestinian state would be far more dangerous to Israel than BDS.”
The letter then outlined several reasons, including security concerns.
“The establishment of an additional Arab (so-called Palestinian) state in the region would severely damage the national security of both Israel and the United States,” members of Israel’s parliament wrote, adding that “such a state would undoubtedly be a dysfunctional terrorist state, which would distance peace and undermine stability in the Middle East.”
It was signed by 21 members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament), which included former security officials.
The resolution has been endorsed by The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the influential Israel lobby in Washington.
“Unfortunately, in the last few years, AIPAC is independently advancing the two-state solution,” said, Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council in the northern West Bank, and one of the signers of the letter.
Dagan added, “The Two-State Concept is not the policy of the current government coalition, nor is it stated as policy in the agreements between the coalition partners.”
An AIPAC spokesman declined to comment when Fox News’ contacted the organization for a response to the letter and Dagan’s comments.
After deciding to block U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from entering the country as part of a planned visit, the Israeli government rescinded that block – on Tlaib at least – lifting the ban and allowing her to come on a “humanitarian visit.”
However, after earlier accepting the olive branch that was held out by the Israelis and saying she would go, the Michigan Representative has now released a statement saying she will not visit the Jewish State, citing “oppressive & racist policies” for not going to Israeli-occupied West Bank, allegedly to see her grandmother.
“The Israeli government used my love and desire to see my grandmother to silence me and made my ability to do so contingent upon my signing a letter – reflecting just how undemocratic and afraid they are of the truth my trip would reveal about what is happening in the State of Israel and to Palestinians living under occupation with United States support,” she said in a statement.
“I have therefore decided to not travel to Palestine and Israel at this time. Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart,” Tlaib’s statement continued.
No change was made regarding Omar’s visit.
President Trump Defends Israel’s Decisions
Originally, President Trump supported the ban by Israel. Soon after hearing about the move to bar their visit, Trump called Tlaib and Omar “very anti-Jewish and anti-Israel” and defended his statements urging Israel to block them from entering the country, amid a massive outcry from Democrats.
Speaking to reporters after deplaning Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport in New Jersey, Trump said recent comments by the two freshmen Democratic lawmakers about Israel were “disgraceful,” arguing they have become the “face of the Democrat Party.”
The President continued, “They are very anti-Jewish and they are very anti-Israel, I think it is disgraceful the things they’ve said.” Trump then added, “This isn’t a one-line mistake. What they have said about Israel and Jewish people is a horrible thing and they’ve become the face of the Democrat Party.”
The unprecedented move to bar Tlaib, D-Mich., and Omar, D-Minn., from visiting marks a deep foray by Israel into America’s bitterly polarized politics. Israel’s move came shortly after Trump tweeted that the Israeli government would “show great weakness” if it allowed the lawmakers in.
President Trump has not weighed in on the latest in this head-spinning series of reversals concerning plans by Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., to visit Israel.
It remains unclear whether either congresswoman will make any new attempt to visit the region at this stage.
The Twitter War between President Donald J. Trump and his one-time Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci continues to heat up.
The President hit back against Scaramucci over this past weekend, accusing him of warping the facts and distorting the truth about his time in the White House, just so he could remain a media darling.
“Anthony Scaramucci, who was quickly terminated (11 days) from a position that he was totally incapable of handling, now seems to do nothing but television as the all-time expert on ‘President Trump.’ Like many other so-called television experts, he knows very little about me,” Trump wrote.
“Other than the fact that this Administration has probably done more than any other Administration in its first 2 1/2 years of existence. Anthony, who would do anything to come back in, should remember the only reason he is on TV, and it’s not for being the Mooch!”
Scaramucci himself then retaliated the next day, saying he’s always supported the President, but took issue with Trump’s divisive language. He also accused the President of frequently turning against his allies.
“For the last 3 years I have fully supported this President,” Scaramucci wrote. “Recently he has said things that divide the country in a way that is unacceptable. So I didn’t pass the 100% litmus test. Eventually he turns on everyone and soon it will be you and then the entire country.”
Mooch Says That Trump’s Visit to Shooting Site Was “a Catastrophe”
Last week, prior to the President’s scathing tweets targeting him, Scaramucci called Trump’s visit to El Paso, Texas, a “catastrophe” during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, and he correctly predicted that Trump would eventually respond via Twitter.
“He probably would be mad at somebody for saying that. Maybe he’ll tweet something negative about somebody for saying he didn’t do well, but facts are he did not do well on the trip because if the trip is being made about him and not the demonstration of compassion and love and caring and empathy for those people, then it becomes a catastrophe for him, the administration, and it’s also a bad reflection on the country,” he said.
On a recent broadcast
New York City Mayor, and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, Bill de Blasio told Sean Hannity he supports border security — just not the way President Trump wants it.
The Mayor claimed in an explosive interview last week on “Hannity,” that a border wall with Mexico is unnecessary but some reforms are needed,
“I support border security but not walls,” he said.
“I don’t think we need additional walls because, look, there are 11 million people here right now.” Adding, “There’s no invasion. There are people here already who are part of our community.”
At a May rally in the Florida panhandle, President Trump likened the influx of illegal immigrants to an “invasion.”
“When you see these caravans starting out with 20,000 people, that’s an invasion,” Trump said at the Panama City event.
Bad People Will Get In – “With or Without a Wall”
In his interview with Hannity, de Blasio also reacted to the import of illicit drugs and immigration of illegal aliens who are criminals, across the southern border.
“People get in with a wall or without a wall, that’s not how you do it,” he said.
“You create an actual border security mechanism. You have every tool you need and you create a reality in our communities where police and communities are working together.”
At one point, he pushed back on Hannity’s use of the words, “sanctuary city,” to describe municipalities that ignore federal immigration law.
“I don’t accept any of these terms,” he said.
Regarding illegal immigrants being granted access to health care services in New York City, the mayor argued the undocumented residents would cost the taxpayers money for their treatment either way.
“Folks go to the emergency room… who’s paying for it?”
Then the former city councilman from Brooklyn added, “These are human beings who are part of our economy and part of our neighborhood.”
Meanwhile, voters in his own City, aren’t too fond of Bill de Blasio as a mayor or as a presidential candidate, according to a poll released one day before his appearance on “Hannity”.
The poll conducted by Siena College found that the mayor is less popular with New Yorkers than President Donald Trump. De Blasio received a 26% favorability rating and 57% unfavorability, compared to Trump’s 35-62%. The poll was conducted between July 28 and Aug. 1, and included responses from 810 registered voters in New York State.
Nationally, among the over 20 candidates for the 2020 Democratic candidates, di Blasio has consistently polled at the bottom, rarely raising over 0% to a maximum of 1%.
In what is today a very rare show of bipartisanship – last week the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution opposing an international effort to boycott Israel as Democrats try to tamp down increasingly heated political rhetoric over differences with the longtime U.S. ally.
The resolution passed on a vote of 398-17.
Not surprisingly however, three high-profile members of “The Squad — Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., were among the 16 Democrats who voted against the resolution.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., was the only Republican to vote “no.”
Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., was one of five lawmakers who voted “present.”
The resolution puts the American lawmakers on record opposing the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and its efforts to target U.S. companies that do business with Israel. The movement has grown in recent years, and Israel sees it as a threat. Supporters of Israel view BDS as an attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state.
Ilhan Omar has in the past displayed public support or BDS.
A Rare Bipartisan Resolution
In a House that many have called “dysfunctional” the resolution condemning BDS was a rare bipartisan moment. The resolution was introduced by Reps. Brad Schneider, D-Ill.; Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.; Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y.; and Ann Wagner, R-Mo.
“A two-state solution remains the best way to justly resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ensure a future for two peoples living side-by-side in peace, security and prosperity,” the resolution said. “By denying the Jewish claim to a homeland, the BDS Movement is fundamentally incompatible with a two-state solution and pushes the cause of peace for both Israel and the Palestinians further out of reach. This resolution makes clear that Congress remains committed to a two-state solution and opposes zero-sum efforts to delegitimize the state of Israel.”
“We must reject the blatant anti-Semitics injected throughout BDS,” said Zeldin.
Omar Voting Against the Bill Should Surprise No One
According to the Associate Press, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., had promised lawmakers the bill would come up for a vote before the August recess in a bid to shield House Democrats from continued Republican efforts to attack them around the issue of Israel. Liberal lawmakers, most notably Omar and Tlaib, both newly elected Muslim-Americans, have spoken out in support of the BDS movement, as they criticize Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
Omar, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was among the only lawmakers to voice objection when the bill was included in a package the panel approved last week.
“What are we doing to bring peace? I believe that simple question should guide every vote we take in this committee,” said the freshman lawmaker, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia when she was a child and became a U.S. citizen.
Omar is known to be outspoken against Israel. She has made tweets and statements that were deemed to be anti-sematic. Omar once tweeted that lawmakers were supportive of the Jewish state because they were essentially being paid to do so. It was widely considered a slur that relied on a trope against Jewish people, and she later “unequivocally” apologized.
President Trump called her apology “lame” and Republicans have continued to stoke opposition to her views as part of the “squad” of liberal freshmen lawmakers. Trump stood by last week at a campaign rally as the crowd chanted about Omar, “Send her back” and has been targeting Omar and “The Squad” for their ultra-left, socialist beliefs of late.`
Over the last weekend, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that there are “no indications” that Iran is willing to change its “malign behavior” as the Iranian regime continues to act aggressively on the world stage.
“In the end, the Iranians, the regime, has to make a decision that it wants to behave like a normal nation,” Pompeo told reporters during a press conference with Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno. “And if they do that, we’re prepared to negotiate across a broad spectrum of issues with no preconditions and I hope that they will do that.”
Pompeo added that the U.S. has tried to de-escalate the situation and create the space for negotiations, but added that “we have seen no indications that the Iranians are prepared to fundamentally change the direction of their nation, to do the things we’ve asked them to do with their nuclear program, their missile program, their malign behavior around the world.”
Seizure of UK Oil Tanker
The secretary of state’s remarks came one day after Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. Senior Iranian officials said that the seizure of the Stena Impero as well as the brief detainment of a second UK-flagged vessel were a “reciprocal” measure for the July 4 seizure of an Iranian tanker by British Royal Marines off the island of Gibraltar.
That official statement was in stark contrast to the message that was put out by the state-run news agency IRNA which claimed the British vessel was seized because it had “rammed an Iranian fishing boat.”
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said last week that he had spoken with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, and “it’s clear from talking to him and also statements made by Iran that they see this as a tit-for-tat situation … Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Hunt said the Iranian tanker that Britain had captured, the Grace1, was in clear violation of the European Union sanctions imposed on Iran, by carrying oil to Syria, making its detention in the waters of a Gibraltar, which is a British territory, perfectly legal.
On the other hand, “The Stena Impero was seized in Omani waters in clear contravention of international law,” Hunt said. “It was then forced to sail into Iran. This is totally and utterly unacceptable…”
“Our priority continues to be to find a way to de-escalate the situation,” the foreign secretary went on. ” … But, we need to see due process happening in Iran as well. We need to see the illegal seizing of a British-flagged vessel reversed, we need that ship released, and we continue to be very concerned about the safety and welfare of the 23 crew members.”
Maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz has deteriorated in recent weeks after six attacks on oil tankers that the U.S. has blamed on Iran – an allegation the Tehran government denies. The U.S. pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year and has imposed waves of economic sanctions on Tehran as part of an effort to curb Iranian aggression in the region.
President Trump said Friday that Iran is “nothing but trouble” shortly after the news broke of the seized tankers, though he remained hopeful the standoff will work out “very nicely.”
Trump added, Iran “is showing their true colors” by seizing the tankers and that it’s in “big trouble right now” due to the crushing sanctions imposed by the U.S.
Pompeo on Saturday said the administration holds out hope that Tehran will come to the negotiating table and further escalation of tensions can be avoided.
Despite some recent controversy, President Donald J. Trump’s popularity among Republicans is bigger than ever. However, that has not stopped a former South Carolina lawmaker from possible challenging the President for the GOP nomination in 2020.
Former South Carolina congressman Mark Sanford is considering launching a bid for president just months after leaving office following President Trump urging Republican voters in the Palmetto State to reject Sanford’s re-nomination.
Speaking to the local newspaper, The Post and Courier, Sanford said that he is taking the next month to decide whether or not he’ll mount a challenge to Trump’s candidacy in the 2020 presidential election, where he would run on a platform focusing on curtailing the national debt and government spending.
“Sometimes in life you’ve got to say what you’ve got to say, whether there’s an audience or not for that message,” Sanford said.
According to Fox New, Sanford, who previously served as South Carolina’s governor, would still run as a Republican, and not an independent.
“I’m a Republican. I think the Republican Party has lost its way on debt, spending and financial matters,” he said.
An Uphill Battle for Any Republican Who Would Challenge Trump
If he does decide to mount a challenge against Trump for the Republican nomination, Sanford would face a ridiculously uphill battle for many reasons.
First there would be major logistical problems for Sanford. Not only would he run into opposition from the Republican Party for running against an incumbent who enjoys over 90% support within the party, but state Republicans would have to agree to hold primary elections and caucuses to allow Sanford to challenge Trump at the ballot box.
So far, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld is the only Republican to announce a challenge to Trump’s re-election hopes. Sanford said part of his hesitancy in running is that he is waiting to see if other high-profile Republicans – namely former Ohio Gov. John Kasich – plan on challenging Trump in a primary.
Another issue for Sanford is the memory of his extramarital affair – and his almost weeklong disappearance – with an Argentine journalist while he was serving as South Carolina governor in 2009. A spokesperson for Sanford first described his absence by saying the then-governor was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he was actually in Buenos Aires.
The scandal led to an official censure by the South Carolina General Assembly and resulted in Sanford’s resignation as chair of the Republican Governors Association, but he did complete his second term as governor.
The scandal served as fodder for some taunting by the President. During his two years in Congress while Trump was president, the two had a rough relationship that culminated in Trump telling voters in South Carolina to vote for his primary challenger Katie Arrington and tweeting that Sanford is “better off in Argentina.” Arrington eventually lost the general election to Democrat Joe Cunningham.
A week after Sanford’s loss, Trump reportedly made fun of him during a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, where some Republicans allegedly booed the President. Trump denied the reports and insisted that those present “applauded and laughed loudly” when he mocked Sanford.
The President was not the only one to use Sanford’s indiscretions against him. “The last time Mark Sanford had an idea this dumb, it killed his Governorship,” Chairman of the South Carolina General Assembly, Drew McKissick said in a statement. “This makes about as much sense as that trip up the Appalachian trail.”