Long-shot GOP presidential candidate Mark Sanford made a stop in Peoria today on the first leg of his campaign kickoff tour.
The former South Carolina governor and congressman said he’s running against President Donald Trump to refocus the Republican Party’s conversation onto government debt.
“I think that we’re at a tipping point. We’ve never before run debt and deficits in peacetime as we are right now, and it’s one of my real objections to what President Trump is doing in regard to where he’s taking our country," Sanford said.
He said reducing debt used to be a central tenet of the Republican Party. But now he said the party has taken a “see no evil, hear no evil” approach to the deficit, which has grown more than $1 trillion under Trump’s tenure.
Sanford said he also wants to return to a more civil national political discourse and restore respect for the country’s institutions.
Sanford said he thinks the cancellation of GOP primaries across the country is voter disenfranchisement. And the former South Carolina governor and congressman says “Trump fatigue” is setting in.
“I think that there is something at play, particularly given the chaos of the last week, that says that somebody is worried about numbers. And I see it as a sign of weakness, not strength," he said.
The president endorsed Sanford’s primary challenger in 2018. She won that race, but ultimately lost the general election to a Democrat. Sanford said that’s the first time South Carolina's 1st District flipped blue in 50 years.
Sanford also had campaign stops scheduled Friday in Davenport and Des Moines, Iowa.