June 26th, 2009
08:40 AM ET
11 years ago

SC gov to return to work Friday, despite calls for resignation

Sanford planned to go back to work on Friday.

Sanford planned to go back to work on Friday.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford plans to return to work Friday, despite calls for him to resign because of a sex scandal.

"After spending Thursday with his family in Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, Governor Mark Sanford has returned to Columbia and plans on holding a Cabinet meeting on Friday," his office told CNN by e-mail Thursday, a day after he admitted having an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman.

After disappearing from the public eye for nearly a week, Sanford, 49, acknowledged Wednesday that he had not hiked the Appalachian Trail - as his staff had said earlier - but had been in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Sanford said Thursday that he would reimburse South Carolina for the Argentina leg of a state-funded trade mission last year because he saw the woman he had an affair with on that trip, someone he described as "a dear, dear friend."

CNN's sources in Buenos Aires and in South Carolina identified the woman, whose name was also widely reported in Argentine media, as Maria Belen Chapur.

The governor's disclosure prompted one newspaper in South Carolina and one of the state's top Republicans to call on Thursday for his resignation.

Sanford "cannot navigate a deep and painful personal crisis and lead the state through its economic crisis at the same time," an editorial in The Spartanburg Herald-Journal said.

The paper said South Carolina needed a spokesman who could talk to potential employers without having to answer questions about his personal life.

"And the state needs a leader it can trust as it deals with the troubled economy. Sanford has destroyed that trust," it said.

A key South Carolina Republican cited Sanford's past criticism of Bill Clinton, and accused the governor of hypocrisy.

"He was saying our elected leaders need to stand firm on principles and values, and one of those is strong family values," Glenn McCall, a member of the Republican National Committee, told CNN by phone.

"What he said is hypocritical if he doesn't step down, because he was right with what he said about Clinton and others. When you are an elected leader, we hold you to higher standards."

The State, the Columbia-based newspaper that acquired what it said were e-mail exchanges between Sanford and the woman, acknowledged Thursday that there would likely be people who would call for the governor's resignation.

"We are not ready to join them at this point," the editorial said.

The State said it acquired the e-mails in December. The governor's office confirmed their authenticity Wednesday, the newspaper told CNN. When contacted by CNN, a spokesman for the governor would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the e-mails.

The affair began in the past year and was discovered five months ago, Sanford said Wednesday without elaborating. He added that he and his wife were trying to work through it.

He implied that he had ended the affair, saying, "And the one thing that you really find is that you absolutely want resolution. And so oddly enough, I spent the last five days of my life crying in Argentina."

Thursday, the governor said he would repay South Carolina for the Argentina leg of the trade mission last year with the Department of Commerce.

"While the purpose of this trip was an entirely professional and appropriate business development trip, I made a mistake while I was there in meeting with the woman who I was unfaithful to my wife with," Sanford said.

"That has raised some very legitimate concerns and questions, and as such I am going to reimburse the state for the full cost of the Argentina leg of this trip."

The South American swing took Sanford and several commerce officials to Brazil and Argentina for one week, beginning on June 21, 2008.

According to state expenditure reports, Sanford's expenses for out-of-state travel with the Department of Commerce were $21,487 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008. Governors commonly travel out-of-state or abroad to stir up investment in their home states.

It was not immediately clear how much of the expenses the Argentina part of the trip comprised.

Sanford said in the news conference Wednesday that he footed the bill for his most recent trip to Buenos Aires, which occurred in the past week.

–CNN's Peter Hamby, John King, Jackie Damico and Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.

Filed under: Mark Sanford
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. R in Maine

    What a loser? Cannot tell the truth about anything. Puts his people in a position of lying to protect him. Does not take care of the people he is supposed to represent. The state and the country are better off without him. No sense of honor to his family, party, state, or country. And to think that people name him as a person to lead. He talks about the "other woman" like it was something to brag about. Hypocrisy is something he cans aspire to move up to from where he is now.

    June 26, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. WAW

    He will tell his cabinet that he is resigning. Then issue a statement to the press, no more Q&A.

    June 26, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  3. Nancy - Houston

    I believe any employee who would walk away from his job and disappearfor nearly a week then returned expecting to resume his employment would be greeted instead with a pink slip. Isn't the good governor working for the state of South Carolina? South Carolineans should present him with his pink slip.

    June 26, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. Michael

    I do not think someone in political office should have to resign because he cheated on his wife or husband. That is a personal issue and has nothing to do with his proffesion. Tha being said, there is a presidence. When republicans called for Clinton to resign because of his "affair" that set the tone for the future of these issues. Mr. Sanford was one of those leadinbg the charge to have Clinton removed. Now it seems as though since it applies to himself, the rules are changed. He lied to his associates as to his whereabaouts, amking his case no different taht Clintons. Once again it is an example of a republican basically saying "Do as I say, not as I do". They brought it on themselves and now they have to live with it.

    June 26, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  5. Independent Again

    He should RESIGN!!! He left the helm for 5 days unattended. If there was an emergency in SC, it would have been castastrophic. If I did not show up to work for 5 days w/o contacting my employer, I would be fired!! We need to hold these elected official to a hire standard, demand they do their jobs for the people that put them there and not for their own selfish interest!!!

    He should resign and I am a proud conservative.

    June 26, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. white supremacist = al qaeda =hamas = terrorism

    what a dirty and stupid man? Did he forget that he voted to impeach Clinton?

    June 26, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. SC

    This guy has thick skin & shameless face. If I were him, I would go hide my face under a desk.

    June 26, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  8. Bill

    Good then he can start e-mailing his dear sweat friend.

    Please do the state a favor and "RESIGN" now!

    Argentina is a long way to go for and affair. Really what is wrong with this picture.

    It also appears Senator McCain was lucky he did not pick this guy for Vice President choice.

    June 26, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  9. girlymen love the GOP

    They should get Jeff Foxworthy for the job.

    June 26, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. jrzshor

    resign becasue of a "sex sacandal"

    they should all resing because they could not control the spending of other peoples money. state govt waste millions each and every day.

    resign because of that ineptness!!!

    who one dillies should not concern us.

    June 26, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. Obama 2.0

    You are so fired, from home and work.

    June 26, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. wendell

    he should resign, liberals use their affairs and sinful ways as a resume builder conservatives call for doing the right thing accept punishment

    June 26, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Ken in NC

    Gov. Mark Sanford being the "Bottom Line" kind of guy he is, should step up and call for the resignation of the Gov. of SC just as he has done for others.

    I know for a fact that if I left work without providing some cover for my position, my employer would keep me on the pay roll untill my return at which time they would terminate me. Well maybe it is different for some employees.

    June 26, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. yuri

    We agree whole-heartedly with the S. Carolina news papers, that Sanford ought to step down as guv. He has lost all credibility with the people, and his apologies and explanations ain't powerful enough to buttress his position in the office.

    Sanford! give it a rest, will you?

    June 26, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Step down!

    Just like a Republican – Hypocrites!

    June 26, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. R in Maine

    What will he do if he returns to "work?" Does SC have someone that need to hear some lies?

    June 26, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. Claudia in Houson

    Sick of hearing about this man's sex life and lies, either fire him or leave him alone.

    June 26, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. vegage

    Mi God, this guy has no respect for himself, his family or the state elected him. And he dares to show up to work as nothing had happened? I think he is not clear about the seriousness of his faults.

    June 26, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  19. TCM

    What's amazing is the press coverage of this guy, and his bad decision....he lost the respect of the people...ok, it's SC's problem. However, CNN, what about all the inconsistencies surrounding Obama? Let's turn the light back on the bloated climate, stimulus, and health care bills....Sanford's a speck in the grand scheme of things; i.e.,, Obama's about to break the country's financial back...and you guys are scurrying after Sanford like this is newsworthy?

    Obama, Pelosi and cronies are about to indebt, beyond our wildest dreams, many citizens who aren't even born yet, and we're stuck on an affair....

    June 26, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Pukey GOP

    Is it just me but.....why did he go to Argentina to cry for five days and during father's day.

    What a selfish person.

    He lies, cheats, deceits,steals money from the state..........and says I am going back to work.

    If this state lets him stay then They have lost their mind.

    This guy had an elaborate scheme with all the hiking gear in his vehicle but flew out of Atlanta. Five days CRYING??? I am not buying thta. He got caught and word was going to get out so that caused the crying.

    Sanford, I would like to ask you to your face how it feels to lambast Clinton and all the while you do the same thing. How about you come out and talk about yourself as bad as you talked about Clinton, you hypocrite!

    GOP moral values........suck!!!

    June 26, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
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