June 24th, 2009
08:35 AM ET
13 years ago

Sanford says he was in Argentina, not on Appalachian Trail

(CNN) - Gov. Mark Sanford did not spend the last five days hiking the Appalachian Trail - as his staff had indicated - but was instead in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the South Carolina Republican told The State newspaper Wednesday.

Spotted returning from the trip in the Atlanta airport Wednesday morning, Sanford said he had considered hiking the Appalachian Trail after his state's busy legislative season came to end but instead decided on a more "exotic" trip.

"I wanted to do something exotic. It's a great city," said Sanford of his five-day getaway that appeared to leave his entire staff and family in the dark about his whereabouts. Sanford also said no one else accompanied him on the trip.

Sanford wouldn't tell the newspaper exactly what he did in the South American country, besides take a drive along the coastline.

The South Carolina governor also said he hadn't planned to return until Thursday, but came back earlier after his chief of staff contacted him to say the story of his whereabouts was drawing widespread media attention.

Sanford expressed surprise the story was attracting such attention, saying it's not unusual for him to take such trips.

"I would get out of the bubble I am in," he said.

In a short interview with CNN Tuesday, Sanford's wife Jenny said she still has not talked to her husband since he left last Thursday and did not know where he went.

Filed under: Mark Sanford
soundoff (298 Responses)
  1. HSNP

    This is highly irregular. I don't know how they do things in SC, but if our Governor leaves the country, the Lt. Governor takes his place until the Gov. returns. Sanford should resign.

    June 24, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. Matt Easton

    This guy is interesting. On one hand he quotes the bible, talks about a need for higher morals and ethics in the GOP party, and less government spending. On the other hand, one has to ask the question: who were you with in Buenos Aires, what naughty things were you up to, and did you or the S.C. taxpayers pay for your "break?"

    Another politician following the motto "do as I say, not as I do".

    June 24, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  3. TDT

    It's interesting that the people who don't like the job the governor's doing now complain that he's not doing his job.

    June 24, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. Marc in Virginia

    I think I would've stuck with the Appalachian Trail story.

    June 24, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  5. ghsfhghg

    This is simply an ignorant, stubborn, right-wing jerk. Who has no clue about the life's reality other than what he thinks is right.
    Such a dumb person can only be governor of sc!!!

    June 24, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. Deborah

    As a tax paying resident of South Carolina I have to wonder: who paid for the trip, car expense, gas, parking, etc. Knowing the administrtion in Columbia we might never know the truth.

    You have to admit, even his wife did not know. Makes you wonder about all th previous hikes and those long runs to "clear his head".....

    June 24, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. Randolph Carter

    Fred the Moderate wrote:
    So the story has already begun to change! I've seen this before especially with the Republican religous right. It starts with a lie, goes to another lie then another until the media finds the truth and they come out with their poor wife in tow and apologize.
    It would be refreshing if for once they just tell the truth first and take their medicine. But airs must be maintained if one wishes to become the presidential candidate for the GOP

    To be fair, republicans don't have a monopoly on torrid sex scandals. There are lots of weasels in both parties. Have a nice day!

    June 24, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. PT

    And he wants to lead our country?????? A kook.

    June 24, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. Don Mahanna

    How long before he announces he is an alcoholic and goes into rehab?

    June 24, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  10. MBFLA

    Sounds as if there are a lot of questions not being answered very truthfully in this situation. I wouldn't want this character to be responsible for my state much less the country. It is hurricane season in the Carolinas just like it is in Florida and nobody was in charge – not too swift!

    June 24, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. Mississippi Mike

    Wow, he had the nerve to take a few days off and his staffers got their story wrong. I smell a federal investigation brewing.

    June 24, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. Jose

    This guy was not "out of pocket", he was "out of socket".

    June 24, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. jblak

    Another member of the GOP (Gay Old Party) -nuts and flakes

    June 24, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. eric in texas

    Actually, I have it on good authority that he was searching for the money that the Dems couldn't find to fund their health care bill.

    June 24, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  15. Zoltan, Seattle WA

    Well, isn't he just Father of the year! I"m surprised he didn't take his "Family Values" with him to Thailand instead of Argentina.

    June 24, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. james

    Bizzare wack-job is the only way to describe this.

    June 24, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  17. johnrj08

    The man is truly a bizarre character. Leaves the country without even telling his wife, just to drive up the coastline of Argentina by himself? Why do I have a nagging suspicion that this isn't the whole story? Whatever political aspirations Sanford had are up in smoke.

    June 24, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. jeremy.....Dallas...Texas

    Wherever there is smoke.......there is fire. There is juicy story to unearth here.

    June 24, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  19. Abby

    Ok, so basically he left The United States without telling anyone, not even his wife and kids, on father’s day. His staff claimed that they spoke to him and that he was in the Appalachian trail which turned out to be false. Well if he had any 2012 aspirations ( lol) they are gone out the window.

    June 24, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  20. craig from washington

    Does Argentina have extradition? I don't think they do. That's why so many war criminals went there. There's a lot more here than meets the eye.

    June 24, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  21. Mike

    If a major crisis were to happen he was nowhere to be found. South Carolina has put Government on auto for too long.

    June 24, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. Lee

    Why didn't he 'spend' his vacation money in the U.S. to help our economy if he had to get away. Say goodbye to any future running for the U.S. top job–nuts need not apply after the former Texan. When he is run out of office, hope he won't need extended unemployment benefits.

    So glad I am not a repub 🙂

    June 24, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. Daniel

    He probably hooked up with Larry Craig at the Airport and went out of country so he would have a smaller chance of getting caught with a teenage transvestite. Of course he cant prove what happend or didn't happen. Unless he releases his billing records and Hotel special service request. But he is to much of a coward or to guilty to show a truthful documentation.

    June 24, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. Deb

    Appalachian Trail, Argentina... Maybe he meant Afghanistan? One of those words that start with an A...

    June 24, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Reinstate Darwinism

    Oh please people! Obama takes his security detail and spends tons of Taxpayer money to go on a date night. Do i have a problem with this? No. I get it he still needs liesure time and if he thinks he needs protection than let him have it.

    Sanford took a state owned vehicle to an airport and left alone to take a small vacation and people are acting like it's the end of the world. He didn't spend thousands of anyone's money but his own. Yet you're complaining about the cost?

    Sometimes it's just good to get away. Not everyone puts tons of emotion on Hallmark holidays. Maybe even that was his present from his family or maybe it's how he vents.

    June 24, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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