Sanford warns ‘dissenting voices are quashed’ in the ‘age of Trump’

Sanford warns ‘dissenting voices are quashed’ in the ‘age of Trump’
© Greg Nash

South Carolina Rep. Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordAmash says he's happy not feeling 'bound to a particular party' 2020 Presidential Candidates Webb: When opinion becomes vitriol MORE (R) is warning that "dissenting voices are quashed" under President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani says he is unaware of reported federal investigation Louisiana's Democratic governor forced into runoff Lawmakers focus their ire on NBA, not China MORE, blaming the president's attacks and his opponent's charges of disloyalty to the president for his surprise primary defeat last week.

In a Friday op-ed for The Washington Post, Sanford remarked that the president has taken demands for loyalty from lawmakers "to a new level."


"I wasn’t Trump enough in the age of Trump — and so indeed I lost," Sanford wrote.

"We should all be alarmed when dissenting voices are quashed," he added. "President Trump is not the first executive to want compliance from a legislative body, but he has taken it to a new level. This is more than a problem; it’s a challenge to one of the most basic of American tenets — that we can agree to disagree."

Sanford, the state's former governor who had never lost an election before Tuesday's race, was hammered by his opponent state Rep. Katie Arrington (R) over what she suggested was insufficient support of the president. Sanford has criticized Trump's policies, although he says he votes with Trump the majority of the time.

In the hours before the primary, Trump waded into the race personally, endorsing Arrington over Sanford.

"Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to [make American great again]. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina," Trump wrote on Twitter June 12, just hours before Sanford would concede.

"I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!"

Sanford wrote in his op-ed that Trump's endorsement of his opponent, and subsequently mocking him at a House Republican dinner in Washington, was the result of a "collective amnesia" affecting Americans that makes voters not care about dishonesty from elected officials such as Trump.

"We have become so desensitized to the president’s tortured relationship with the truth that we don’t challenge the inaccurate things he and others say. There should be a consequence to making things up," Sanford argued.

"But inexplicably, as a society, we have somehow fallen into a collective amnesia in thinking that it doesn’t matter when the highest officeholder in the land doesn’t tell the truth."

Sanford defended his record in his concession speech, adding that he would oppose the president again if Trump conflicted with conservative ideals.

"It may have cost me an election in this case, but I stand by every one of those decisions to disagree with the president because I didn't think, at the end of the day, it was concurrent with the promises I made when i first ran for office or the voices of the very people of the 1st District," he said.