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. Jim

    Beyond the issues of a governor not being available to serve his state in the event of a crisis and using government equipment for personal use. I wonder what this does to his security clearance; normally when you have a security clearance and plan to leave the country you have to file paperwork on where you're going to see if any conflicts arise. With him taking off like that, it could be argued that his clearance should be pulled and at that point does he become ineffective as governor

    June 24, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. Yellow Dog Democrat

    Just because you disappear on Father's Day without telling your wife and kids doesn't mean you can preach family values.....

    June 24, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  3. Kevin

    Can't wait to get the rest of this story. I'm sure the media can do some digging and find out.

    June 24, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. joseph cregan

    Sanford Palin 2012

    June 24, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. rand

    From what I understand, Sanford "escaped" to Poland last fall without others knowing as well. Seems he needs to get away from it all including his family. Raises some red flags doesn't it?

    June 24, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. T. K.

    I think when it's all said and done-you will find there is another woman somewhere in this story!

    June 24, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. Demarcus Jackson from Columbia, TN

    Strange and curious.

    June 24, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. Eileen

    Sanford handled this situation with the maturity of a 16 year old. His actions were not only irresponsible to the state of South Carolina, but also to his family.

    When the going gets tough, Sanford runs away to hide. Kiss those presidential hopes goodbye.

    June 24, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  9. Carole Wooten

    The Governor was on a "walk about." walkabout 30 up, 5 down
    Background: Australian. Given to us by Crocodile Dundee:
    A spontaneous journey through the wilderness of one's choosing in an effort to satisfy one's itchy feet, a need to be elsewhere, the craving for the open road, that space over the horizon...yes... something like that... you can't quite touch it so you have to go find it because it's you just know it's there...Or maybe it just feels good to go walking around ... 😉 Yeah. It's WALKABOUT.
    See "Crocodile Dundee" 1986 starring Paul Hogan.

    June 24, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  10. Patrick

    Something is very 'fishy' about his story..........wonder what really is going on between the lines. And his wife did not know............even more suspicious.

    June 24, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  11. Melissa

    I really wish Governor Sanford would quit embarassing the Republicans in this state! I don't understand none of it! He has done some of the stupidist things I have ever seen a Governor do, and I didn't buy the stupid trail story, and I don't buy he went to some exotic land for a week alone! Poor Jenny! I am sorry but why he didn't take his beautiful wife? and the kids on such a great vacation... but alone... Re-election time can't come fast enough! and please God don't let him embarass us all again by even attempting to run for President, sounds like he has a mistress, and I am sorry but I don't want another Clinton either!

    June 24, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  12. flybyshoeing

    More disturbing to me is the fact that his wife supposedly did not know where he was. Not the fact that no one in his office or the second in command of the state. What if something had happened to one of his children and noone could reach him? That is the scarey part.

    June 24, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  13. Ryan

    sounds like the Michelle Bachmann of the South. I know there are plenty of crazy Democrats too, but lately the Republicans seem to be taking it to a whole new level.

    June 24, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  14. ch

    Nuts – just another in a long line of GOP crazies!

    June 24, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  15. Phil

    Can't a guy take a vacation and getaway? It's not like he was stealing from the state or running from justice. After being forced to take that ridiculous stimulus money, I would need a break myself.

    June 24, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  16. Martin

    How many more lies will we hear until the truth comes out?

    June 24, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  17. Richard Fraer Pittsburgh, PA

    This guy is a nutcake and irresponsible in his actions and thinking, lock him up.

    June 24, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  18. JDQ

    "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive......"

    June 24, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  19. renaldo

    Oh definitly an extramaritial affair. Only question: was it with a girl or a guy?

    June 24, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  20. Grog in Ohio

    This looks like merely the tip of an iceberg. I won't speculate, but I will suspect that Governor Sanford is hiding something quite a bit more dark than the need for a get away.

    June 24, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  21. Joe

    Stand back, Buenos Aires!! Does he do Evita in drag?

    June 24, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  22. Bill S.

    I'm usually in favor of giving politicians.celebrities their privacy, but leaving the country without even telling his family where he's going is irresponsible. He's the weakest link. Goodbye.

    June 24, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  23. sharon, newport news, virginia

    He went alone on this trip – yeah right!!!!! What a whack job!!! I hope his state didn't have to pick up any of the tab. Most curious is that his staff covered up for him with a big fat lie.If he hadn't been seen at the Atlanta airport they would probably stick to the hiking. Here is another outstanding Republican to lead the Republican party into the future. Knowing the investigative tv news stattions, it won't be long before "Her" idenity is discovered. Go get him CNN MSNBC(Fox won't because he is one of them)

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

    Well it sounds a little weird, but the terms "scumbag" or "right-wing nutjob" are not appropriate, I don't think.

    It's just a little weird, nothing else. I'm weird too. But I'm not contemplating a run for POTUS in 2012...

    June 24, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  25. John

    I ask again...if the aid said he was hiking in Appalacia, why did he contact him in Argentina? The aid knew where he was and lied.

    June 24, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
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