Sanford: Trump primary threats are 'counterproductive'

Rep. Mark SanfordMark SanfordTop cyber Pentagon official overseeing defense contractor project placed on leave Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote MORE (R-S.C.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, on Sunday slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix 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 MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE said Trump hoped Sanford would vote against the repeal-and-replace measures so the president could throw his weight behind a challenger. 

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"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.