JUNE 24, 2009
In what may seem like a cheap midday soap opera, the Republican governor whose mysterious disappearance was attributed to an Appalachian Trail hike turned out to be in South America with his mistress.
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, evidently didn’t tell his staff or his wife that he was taking a few days to visit his mistress in Argentina. During the Latin American rendezvous the governor was incommunicado for several days during which staff and state officials said they had not heard from him and could not reach him.
Even Sanford’s wife, Jenny, had no clue where he was. She said her husband had been gone for several days but she didn’t’ know where and wasn’t worried. She speculated that he was writing something and needed space from the kids after a tough legislative session.
When the two-term governor finally reappeared this week, he initially said he was vacationing in Buenos Aires alone “to do something exotic.” He downplayed the global media coverage of his disappearance, saying that he didn’t know “how this thing got blown out of proportion” since he has taken such trips for years to recharge.
Later in the day he came clean, admitting that he has been unfaithful to his wife of nearly 20 years and that he was in Buenos Aires with his mistress. The governor said he developed a relationship with what started out as a “dear, dear friend from Argentina.”
A fellow Republican state lawmaker reminds Sanford that the state constitution gives only one man (the governor) authority to act in case of an emergency and that the governor should take his security detail and cell phone should he decide to vacation away from South Carolina. That way, he could be reached in the case of a large-scale emergency.
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