Republican presidential candidate Mark Sanford said he is appalled by what he sees as the Democratic Party shifting toward socialism.
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Policies ranging from universal health care, the redistribution of wealth and guaranteed personal income have all found their way as part of the platform for Democratic presidential hopefuls. Sanford, a former two-term governor of South Carolina who also spent 12 years in Congress, is challenging incumbent President Trump for the Republican nomination.
"It is crazy world! Take a look at Venezuela, take a look at some of the other places around the world," Sanford told FOX Business.
"Do you really want to go there?" he asked.
Sanford tied the move toward socialism to his main campaign issue: government spending.
"This is the importance of why we need to have the conversation on debt and deficit and government spending," he said. "Because if we are not making that argument as conservatives – which we're not right now. The president has called himself the 'King of Debt' and doesn’t seem to be focused there – he'll give it lip service occasionally. But he's not raising the topic and focusing the American public on it the way he does other things."
Sanford sees the issue of fiscal irresponsibility as coming from both sides of the aisle. The Democrats are making more promises that would involve increased spending and Sanford is uncertain how they can pay it all.
The Republicans, he said, are enabling this whole process of speeding toward the cliff and financial ruin.
“If we don’t have that concurrent conversation, it is then just a debate of more versus more. On the Democratic side, if you've not prescribed the edge of the dining room table in terms of how far it goes and where it ends ... then it is, well, let’s add this and let’s add this and let’s add this and let’s add this. So you have a debate of more versus more on the Democratic side which is just crazy side in terms of finances,” Sanford said.
"On the Republican side, we're muted. We’re not saying anything. And that is a real mistake and that's why I'm running."
Sanford is willing to compliment the sitting president on certain issues.
The "Trump economy," he said, may be boosting the stock market but lacks the necessary restraint to ensure long-term viability.
"And so I give credit for the President for what he has done with deregulation, I think some of that is more than overdue. I give him credit on judicial appointments," Sanford said.
"I give him credit on signing the tax bill – make no mistake that was [former Speaker of the House] Paul Ryan’s bill, he shepherded the bill for year [along] with [Texas congressman] Kevin Brady in the House," he continued. "That was really their baby. But whoever is in the White House gets credit for signing the bill when it is as important as that one was. He gets credit for those things. But on debt and spending issues, spending has exploded under his watch. No one is guarding the hen house. He's not making noise on it, and he does make noise on a lot of different issues, but he’s not making noise on this issue. I think it comes at our financial detriment."