Trump throws controversial GOP congressman under the bus on his primary day: ‘He is better off in Argentina’

Rep. Mark Sanford (right) was on the receiving end of an attack from Trump on the day of his primary for re-election

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Rep. Mark Sanford (right) was on the receiving end of an attack from Trump on the day of his primary for re-election
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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump fired off at GOP Rep. Mark Sanford on the day of his primary election, calling him “very unhelpful” and “nothing but trouble” in a tweet.
  • Sanford, who represents South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, has been an outspoken critic of Trump.
  • Sanford weathered an extramarital affair in 2009 while he was governor of South Carolina, and was elected to his current position in 2013.

Less than three hours before South Carolina polls closed on Tuesday in the state’s primary elections, President Donald Trump fired off a series of insults against Republican Rep. Mark Sanford and endorsed his GOP opponent, state Rep. Katie Arrington.

“Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. 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!” Trump tweeted.

Sanford, a longtime politician who has served both in Congress and as governor of South Carolina for parts of the past three decades, is one of the few Republican members of congress who openly criticizes Trump.

Sanford has called Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel imports “an experiment in stupidity,” said Trump has done some “weird stuff” in office, and even suggested that Trump was “partially” to blame for divisive rhetoric that led to the congressional baseball practice shooting last year.

Trump calling Sanford “MIA” and “better off in Argentina” refers to an incident during Sanford’s tenure as governor, when he disappeared and had no communication with staff or family for six days in June 2009, claiming to be hiking on the Appalachian trail.

When he reemerged, he admitted to having been in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with his mistress and now fiancée, Argentinian journalist María Belén Chapur. His wife, Jennifer Sullivan, then filed for a divorce, finalized in 2010.

Sanford survived his scandal and was elected to Congress in a 2013 special election, where he has served since.

South Carolina is one of five states holding primaries on Tuesday for congressional elections.