Sanford: Trump primary threats are 'counterproductive'

Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordTrump endorses Gaetz in reelection bid GOP candidate hurt in car crash: 'My children call me the Terminator. You just can't break me' GOP candidate vows to continue campaign in first public comments since car crash MORE (R-S.C.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, on Sunday slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpReporters defend CNN's Acosta after White House says he 'disrespected' Trump with question Security costs of Trump visit to Scotland sparks outrage among Scottish citizens Ex-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack 'ain't ever going to happen' MORE’s threats to support a primary challenger against him in 2018.

“I think that those kinds of threats are counterproductive,” Sanford, who last month planned to vote against the proposed GOP measures to repeal and replace ObamaCare, told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Sanford reiterated what he told a South Carolina newspaper last month: that White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump suggests China is easing pressure on North Korea because of trade fight | Mulvaney taps top aide as No. 2 at consumer bureau | House Republican to offer bill to curtail Trump's trade powers Mulvaney appoints top aide as consumer bureau acting No. 2 MORE said Trump hoped Sanford would vote against the repeal-and-replace measures so the president could throw his weight behind a challenger. 

"The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted ‘no’ on this bill so he could run [a primary challenger] against you in 2018," Sanford quoted Mulvaney as saying at the time.

Sanford, who has not been shy about criticizing Trump, noted on Sunday that he works for the residents of his district, not the president of the United States.

“I don’t work for him,” Sanford said. “I work for about 750,000 people in the first congressional district.”

Sanford also rejected suggestions from a libertarian website that he should run against Trump in 2020.

“This is news to me, so you’re making news. I’ve never heard of the website,” Sanford told Dana Bash.

“No, I’m going to try to run for Congress. I’ve already got two primary challengers,” he added.