COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – The South Carolina Secretary of Commerce who traveled to South America with Mark Sanford last June would not say Friday if he thought the governor should resign.
Secretary of Commerce Joe Taylor, a close friend of Sanford, said the state “moves forward regardless” of who is in the governor’s mansion. When asked if that meant he believed South Carolina would be able to run smoothly without Sanford in office, Taylor nodded.
However, asked directly if Sanford should resign, Taylor said only: “You have to ask him that.”
Taylor also said the governor’s office never pressed the Department of Commerce to add Argentina to the trip’s itinerary.
Sanford admitted Thursday that he met with his mistress in Buenos Aires during that trip, and promised to re-pay the state for full cost of the Argentina swing.
Taylor said little during Friday’s cabinet meeting with the governor, except to note that an economic development award given to the state this week “didn’t get much coverage because it's good news."
Sanford, in his first public appearance since admitting the affair on Wednesday, apologized to Taylor and the commerce department “for the way that I put y’all in a bad spot.”
After Friday’s cabinet meeting, a saddened Taylor told CNN he has traveled around the world with Sanford, but only learned of the affair on Wednesday “when everybody else in the state of South Carolina did.” He said he never saw any signs that Sanford was having an affair.
“I don’t think I could be more disappointed by anything in my life,” Taylor said. “I consider his wife a very dear friend of mine, and those four boys are just wonderful, and my thoughts are with nobody but them.”
He said he spoke to Sanford on the phone on Thursday, and that Sanford apologized to him personally. He would not elaborate on what else they discussed.