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Former US governor Sanford mulls Trump primary challenge

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Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford said Tuesday he is considering challenging Donald Trump for the Republican nomination to run for the White House in 2020.

[WASHINGTON] Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford said Tuesday he is considering challenging Donald Trump for the Republican nomination to run for the White House in 2020.

Mr Sanford said he would decide within the next 30 days whether to challenge the president, who backed Sanford's winning far-right opponent in a Republican primary for last year's congressional midterm elections.

Mr Sanford earned nationwide ridicule in 2009 after claiming he was "hiking the Appalachian Trail" when he was really spending time with his Argentine mistress.

But he said he was considering launching a political comeback because he feared no one else was addressing the danger of a potential economic meltdown.

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"We're walking our way toward the most predictable financial crisis in the history of man," he told CNN.

"There is little to no - I guess I'd say no - discussion of debt, deficit and government spending in Washington these days."

He accused Democratic 2020 candidates as well as the president of ducking the issue of ballooning national debt, arguing that the country was walking into "one heck of a financial storm."

"We will spend more on interest than we do on our national defence bill in just three years," said Mr Sanford, who served in Congress in the 1990s before serving two terms as governor until 2011.

He was re-elected to the House of Representatives from 2013 until last year, when he lost the party nomination to a Trump-backed rival who was in turn defeated in the election by a Democrat.

Mr Sanford, an outsider in Republican circles, said the president's weekend spate of xenophobic tweets calling on Democratic congresswomen of colour to go back to where they came from "noxious and weird."

He may have some work to do to convince his party he has what it takes to replace Mr Trump in the Oval Office.

Drew McKissick, the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, told local newspaper the Post and Courier that "the last time Mark Sanford had an idea this dumb, it killed his governorship. This makes about as much sense as that trip up the Appalachian trail."

AFP