Politics

Sanford Says Cruz Endorsement Was More About Trump

Sanford, center left, escorts his guest Ben Carson to the House chamber for Pope Francis' speech to a joint meeting of Congress on Sept. 24, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Mark Sanford said Monday his endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz for president ahead of South Carolina's Republican primary was more about opposing Donald Trump than supporting Cruz.  

Sanford endorsed  Cruz on Feb. 19, the day before the South Carolina primary. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., received endorsements from several prominent South Carolina Republicans, including Gov. Nikki Haley, who succeeded Sanford, and Sen. Tim Scott.  

“My endorsement was a Friday afternoon before Saturday election, it was really about Donald Trump, it wasn’t about anybody else’s candidacy other than believing it's important in the 11th hour,” Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., told HOH. "Thursday night there was a town hall thing, and I watched that, and it just hit me. Wait a minute, I am frightened by Donald Trump.”  

The congressman decided his endorsing Cruz would help split the outsider vote and take some away from Trump.  

Sanford took presidential hopeful Ben Carson as his guest to Pope Francis’ speech to a joint meeting of Congress in September. When asked if there was an instance that led him to end up not endorsing him, he said, “there was no subliminal message meant there. I admire the humble way he approaches the political process. I think that that’s what struck a lot of people about him,” he added.  

“I admire his humility and we all would love to see more in the way of kind-heartedness in the political process,” he added. “Where we can disagree on ideas but do so in a way that doesn’t tear down or trash the other human being.”  

On what frightens him about Trump, he said, “I think that a lot of what he talks about is outside the bounds of constitutional authority. If you believe in limited government, constitutional authority, it just hit me that I need to say something.”  

“I didn’t want to speak out later; then you look at me as a critic in the world of media and say, ‘Wait a minute. These guys came to your state and you never even said anything,’” he added.  

Contact Gangitano at AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com and follow her on Twitter at @AlexGangitano .  

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