Sanford: 'It carries real weight' to speak against Trump 'while in office'

Sanford: 'It carries real weight' to speak against Trump 'while in office'
© Greg Nash

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark SanfordMark SanfordTrump challenger Bill Weld rules out 2020 independent bid Judge throws out lawsuit against South Carolina GOP for canceling 2020 primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field MORE (R) emphasized on Wednesday that it "carries real weight" for Republicans to speak out against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE while in office, citing the recent exits of a number of notable Republican lawmakers. 

"For a while he [Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamLawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown George Conway group drops ad seeking to remind GOP senators of their 'sworn oaths' ahead of impeachment trial House Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't MORE (R-S.C.)] was vociferous against the president. He has now done backflips in the opposite direction based on — being fairly transparent, saying this is the cost of admission, I want to stay in the game," Sanford told The Hill's Julia Manchester on "NH Today with Jack Heath." 

"A lot of people look at the fact that [former Sen. Bob] Corker [R-Tenn.] and [Former Sen. Jeff] Flake [R-Ariz.] are gone, they look at that I'm gone. If you speak up against this president while in office, it carries real weight," he continued. 

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Sanford, who ended his longshot 2020 bid to unseat Trump on Tuesday, was referring to how Senate Republicans would handle articles of impeachment against Trump if he is impeached in the Democratic-controlled House. 

The former governor also cited former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: report Bottom Line DOJ inquiry tied to Clinton, touted by Trump winds down with no tangible results: report MORE's recent Senate campaign ad praising Trump, and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyIs Mike Pence preparing to resign, assume the presidency, or both? Judd Apatow urges Georgia voters to get rid of Doug Collins after 'terrorists' comment Nikki Haley: Democratic leadership, 2020 Dems are the only people mourning Soleimani death MORE's new book defending the president as signs of loyalty in the party's upper ranks.

"Look at the Jeff Sessions ad. If you haven't seen it yet, it is remarkable. This guy was beaten to death by the president, and yet he runs an ad that's basically a suck up ad to the president," Sanders said. "If you look at Nikki Haley's book, it's really signaling to the president that 'I'm on your team.' I mean, it's just one thing after another."

Twenty Republican senators would be needed to secure a guilty verdict in the upper chamber. 

Sanford said "there is no way" 20 Republicans would defect. 

The House impeachment inquiry will enter its public phase on Wednesday with the first televised hearings set to air on television. 

Democrats in the lower chamber are investigating whether Trump tied aid to Ukraine to the country opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Trump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina MORE and his son Hunter Biden.