South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has admitted in a live press event that the reason he was in Argentina without the public’s knowledge over the past few days was to visit a woman with whom he has had an affair. He also announced that he is quitting his post as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
He mentioned that his family had known about the affair prior to this week, and that he has already taken steps to work through the situation. During the press event he became visibly emotional, struggling at times to speak. He did give background on his partner and how he started a relationship with someone in Argentina, which seemed unrehearsed and possibly too forthcoming — at times it seemed a little self-absorbed.
More to follow.
Something does not quite add up. If his wife has known for at least five months that he has been unfaithful then there are two things to be explained: 1) Why was he in Argentina? He said that he was committed to a “long process” of working through the affair with his wife, so why would he be visiting this other woman? 2) Why was this scandal not avoided? From a purely political perspective, obviously Sanford would have been better off without the revelation of his affair. Even if he wanted to continue the affair, why would he go AWOL and fly to Argentina to do so? If he hadn’t made the gross misstep of failing to notify anyone where he was, he never would have attracted attention. Is his paramour such an important figure in Argentina that she couldn’t have met him somewhere stateside to avoid the attention that would inevitably follow a major national politician’s unannounced trip to a foreign country?
In other words, based on what we know right now, there is absolutely no reason that this situation needed to be a political disaster for Sanford. If he simply could have provided any kind of excuse or shown any of the forethought with which politicians usually plot their dalliances, he still would be a 2012 contender for the Republican nomination. Either he really is that clueless, or there’s even more to the story that we don’t know right now.
Meanwhile, in Columbia, the impeachment rumblings are only going to get louder.
This explains a lot. Apparently Sanford and his wife were in a trial separation. Jenny Sanford released a statement explaining that because of his affair, two weeks ago she requested a trial separation, which she says she did for the sake of their kids and for the good of the marriage. For that reason, she didn’t know his whereabouts. It also explains why he was visiting a woman in Buenos Aires even though his wife had already learned of his infidelity.