Trump attacks Republican up for re-election with reference to affair

Congressman Mark Sanford in Greenville, South Carolina.

Donald Trump launched an unusual attack against a sitting House Republican only hours before polls closed in Tuesday’s primary election.

Trump – flying back from Singapore on Air Force One – attacked Mark Sanford, a South Carolina Republican, urging voters to support his rival.

In his tweet, Trump said: “Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!”

The reference to Argentina stems from an extramarital affair that the libertarian Republican had in 2009 while serving as governor. Sanford, who was married, fell in love with an Argentinian woman, Maria Belen Chapur, and went to visit her after telling his staff that he would be “hiking the Appalachian trail”. He later described Chapur as his soul mate.

Sanford, a member of the hard right House Freedom Caucus, has long been one of the few congressional Republicans willing to openly break with Trump.

The result is that he has faced a primary challenge from Katie Arrington, a state representative who is campaigning on her loyalty to Trump.

Within minutes, the Arrington…

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