One Person Showed Up When Mark Sanford Kicked Off Trump Primary Challenge

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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One person — other than reporters and photographers — showed up to help former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford kick off his primary challenge to President Donald Trump.

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Anna Orso, who attended Sanford’s scheduled news conference Wednesday in the shadow of Independence Hall, remarked in her article, “It didn’t really feel like a news conference. I was the only reporter there.”

Orso described the scene as Sanford stepped up to a wooden lectern promptly at 9 am, asking whether she was ready for him to start.

When it began, the only others around besides his two aides were a family 30 yards away with a selfie stick and a group of students from Paris who wanted to know why he had such a big check. (Answer: It represented the burden of the national debt.)

Sanford meant for Wednesday’s news conference to serve not just as the start of his 2020 primary campaign, but also his tour designed to bring attention to the still-rising national debt. His 3,500-mile “Kids, We’re Bankrupt and We Didn’t Even Know It” tour has scheduled stops later this week in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

Only one ABC affiliate, 6ABC, sent a cameraman to cover Sanford’s speech — even though, as Orso noted, several other major outlets had affiliates located from just a few blocks to two miles away.

Sanford didn’t appear discouraged, telling Orso that he wasn’t surprised to have a small crowd. “Nobody knows me in Philadelphia. I get it. I think in life we all do what we can do, what’s within our power to have an effect. So we’re just sort of moving along as we go along,” he said. (RELATED: Mark Sanford Is In: President Trump Has Another Republican Primary Challenger)

Sanford announced his challenge to Trump — primarily focused on dealing with the national debt in a way he felt the administration had failed to do — during a recent appearance on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace.