Rep. Mark Sanford on losing the Republican Party to Donald Trump

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Mark Sanford was elected to Congress in 1994, where he quickly established himself as one of the most conservative members of the chamber. In 2002, he was elected governor of South Carolina. He was, again, one of the most conservative elected officials in the country. Many expected him to be the GOP’s nominee against Obama in 2012.

Then it all happened. The disappearance. “Hiking the Appalachian trail.” Sanford left public life. He was done, it seemed. And then he wasn’t. He won a House seat in South Carolina. He overcame the kind of scandal that usually destroys a politician.

But he couldn’t overcome Trump. Sanford was a rock-ribbed conservative, a Republican, but he was no Trumpist. He accused the president of fanning the flames of intolerance, of being reckless with the truth. He wrote a New York Times op-ed calling on Trump to release his tax returns.

Sanford got a primary opponent for his troubles, Trump endorsed her, and Sanford lost. Weeks after Sanford's defeat, Trump appeared before House Republicans and mocked Sanford in front of his colleagues. The president, unusually, was booed.

I sat down with Sanford in his final weeks in Congress to talk about what he’s learned about the Republican Party, about Donald Trump, about America, and about himself.

Recommended books:

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? by Graham Allison

Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright

The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook by Niall Ferguson

178 episodes available. A new episode about every 4 days averaging 74 mins duration .