August 11th, 2009
08:51 PM ET
5 years ago

Sanford defends expensive travel, denies divorce

Sanford flew in style on two international flights in 2006 and 2007.
Sanford flew in style on two international flights in 2006 and 2007.

(CNN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford defended his trips on expensive international flights on Tuesday and said that a state Senate probe into his foreign travel is driven by a politically-motivated "feeding frenzy."

Sanford also told reporters that he and his wife Jenny - who moved out of the governor's mansion in Columbia last week - are not getting a divorce.

Sanford's travel has come under increased scrutiny since he admitted an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman in June. A state law enforcement probe in June found that the governor did not use state money while carrying on his affair.

But on Monday, Republican state Sen. David Thomas concluded an investigation that found Sanford violated South Carolina regulations by billing the state for business and first-class seats on international flights during trade missions in 2006 and 2007. South Carolina law requires state officials to purchase seats for the lowest available fare. Thomas told CNN that Sanford's actions could be grounds for impeachment when the legislative session begins in January.

Sanford, speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting Tuesday, said that the state Department of Commerce purchases tickets and argued that other South Carolina governors had flown business and first class when traveling overseas in the past. He said that if Thomas was really concerned about his travel practices, he should have called the governor's office instead of simply releasing the results of his investigation to the media.

"I did wrong, I messed up and there are consequences for that," Sanford said, referring to his affair. "But at some point it gets to the point of the absurd, where in political terms people smell blood in the water, and they keep coming and coming and coming."

Sanford contended that flying business class on international flights allowed him to rest before important meetings set up to attract business to the state. "Did folks really want this governor or some other governor to fly in, go to some meetings in Rome, and look haggard in the process?," he asked.

The embattled governor also responded to an Associated Press investigation that revealed he used state planes for personal and political travel within South Carolina. Sanford said he has flown on state planes less than previous administrations. "We're not perfect," he said.

He said that some taxpayer-funded travel may have appeared personal, because he often tried to include his four boys on trips when it fit with his official schedule.

Sanford said that some of the claims in the story - for example, that he took a flight from Myrtle Beach to Columbia simply to get a haircut - were taken out of the context of his full daily schedule. He noted that he went to get the haircut not at a fancy salon, but at the chain "Great Clips."

Towards the end of the press conference a reporter asked if he and his wife were getting a divorce.

Sanford said no.


Filed under: Extra • Mark Sanford • Popular Posts • South Carolina
soundoff (238 Responses)
  1. All Good Things

    Is he doing a good job as a governor or not? I don't think adultery should get you tossed out of public office (in fact, it's laughable that it was tried with Clinton and most of the guys who were gunning for him have since had their own extra-marital affairs) but 1000 taxpayer funded haircuts...maybe.

    August 11, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Bruce

    Sounds like the first step in the divorce processin SC to me. Having lived there , and gone through a divorece, you have to live apart for a year before a divorce proceeding can begin. SO look slike she moved out , to get the clock running on the sepreation time.

    August 11, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. ross berg-buffalo ny

    Seems to me that if he REALLY cares about his state and its people he'd resign and be done with it.

    He's clearly damaged goods and there's no way he can be an effective CEO ever again!!

    August 11, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. Mississippi Mike

    This guy is old news. He needs to find another job.

    August 11, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Donna from Colorado Springs

    So Mr. fiscal conservative got caught lying again about his travel expense accounts. Poor thing! He's a lying bum and should be kicked out of office.

    August 11, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. Doug, New Jersey

    What, does this guy really think he is a Democrat?

    Mark, if you are a Democrat with lapdog lib constituents who are easily mislead by spin and hate-filled left wing blog sites, sure, you can get away with murder, literally (hi Ted), but as a republican you have lost conservative support, I suggest that if you wish to continue living on the people's dime that you call up Arlen the Arlib and learn his playbook.

    August 11, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. gaiabocelli

    Excuses are the easiest things to manufacture, and the
    hardest things to sell – holla!

    August 11, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. Bobby

    Should I believe anything he says?
    If his wife can't trust his word, how can I?
    Goodbye to this bible quoting lying cheating piece of trash.

    August 11, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. katie

    Either leave the guy alone and let him do his job or just fire him.

    August 11, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Pepou

    IMPEACH that buffoon. He is as laughable as Palin.

    August 11, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. John Black Hills/SD

    Sanford must go to bed, and awaken in a state of humiliation, and embarrassment. Why would he inflict this torment onto his wife, who is not a dog. South Carolina should consider sacking this guy, there are thousands of men and women who can do the job better that Sanford.

    August 11, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Diane

    Governor, You brought this on yourself. Your cowardly acts involving your family and your position left you open to the scrutiny. It's too bad your family has to deal with this as well, but for yourself, suck it up and deal.

    August 11, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Gary

    This man is so ignorant. If you think some of these republicans are unfair, just think if YOU where a democrat. They would be relentless.
    Look what these fools are doing on every subject they don't agree with. Hate, fear mongoring and lies. Now death threats. These republicans have brought our country to the lowest point it has ever been.

    August 11, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. joel palmer

    "Not getting a divorce?" Wanna bet?

    This guy doesn't have a rumor about what his wife is or isn't going to do. She's a smart woman; he is one of the dumbest ba$tards to hold office in a very long time.

    He is whistling past the graveyard and the next shoe to drop with be the subpoena he gets from her attorney.

    Count on it

    August 11, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. JA/TN

    the man should step down as governor, these so-called folk of high moral standards ln most instances are pigs in lipstick

    August 11, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. LBW

    He and his family went to Europe for two weeks to "work on the marriage". Three days after the vacation, Jenny is photographed moving out of the Mansion and down to Sullivan's Island with their boys. Guess the vacation didn't work. He is in denial about his marriage. She has had it and who could blame her?

    August 11, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. A Canadian Bogeyman

    Just another American-Denial. There are millions. Eventually it will destroy them..

    August 11, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Bill Hewett

    Why doesn't the people of S C demand that this man be impeached. Where is the rule of law? This man believes that he is a KING or something and that the people of the state are slaves. Republicans in the state and in the house and senate are willing to put up with the evil law breaking stunts. And the evil deceivers use God's name as though He would approve of this scheming.
    Bill Hewett

    August 11, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. carlos, that one

    "But at some point it gets to the point of the absurd, where in political terms people smell blood in the water, and they keep coming and coming and coming."

    Gov. Sanford, that's exactly what you did during Pres. Clinton impeachment.........now, smell the roses

    August 11, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. bsmith171

    who cares?

    August 11, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. sharon

    and we should believe this gov. why??????

    August 11, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Connie

    Absurd? The absurdity is that you cheat on your wife and expect everyone to just get over it. You proved your wife (who should be able to trust you) cannot trust you, why should anyone else trust you? How can anyone believe anything you say? Why would anyone be surprised at anything you cheat on? Your credibility is shot. Resign before you are impeached.

    August 11, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. Terry

    Governor Sanford is sick. It is pathetic that he has nothing but excuses for his horrible behavior. It is pitiful that we in South Carolina have to read about his shocking hipocracy nearly every day. We are supposed to give him another chance as long as his wife does. Well, she has moved out and Sanford's "second chance" is looking more like toast.

    August 11, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. Fred the Moderate

    Ya the blood is in the water alright. The problem for you is, the political party coming after you is your own Republican party, so I really hope you won't stoop as low as palin and try to blame it on the Democrates, because we're just sitting back and watching the show!

    August 11, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. carlos, that one

    He said that some taxpayer-funded travel may have appeared personal, because he often tried to include his four boys on trips when it fit with his official schedule.

    And who suggested you do that?...was it the gov. of alaska?

    all there is to say is....................pant's on fire.....

    August 11, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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