A decade ago this morning, the phrase "Hiking the Appalachian Trail" took on a whole new meaning in South Carolina.
That's when then-Gov. Mark Sanford emerged from his six-day absence to give a live, televised tear-filled admission that he had been unfaithful to the state and his wife by running off to Argentina to visit his mistress.
His administration said his absence was because he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Once the story broke nationally, the state became a mockery for political comedians.
Since then, it appeared Sanford was destined to land on his feet, again.
He finished out his term as governor, dodging impeachment chatter.
He won his old seat in Congress in 2013 — a signal he'd been generally forgiven by tens of thousands of Republican voters in the Lowcountry.
But then he ran into the politics of Donald Trump, who targeted Sanford after Sanford targeted Trump for his questionable behavior.
Their differences hit a new level during a Trump visit to Cayce to support the election campaign of Gov. Henry McMaster.
“I can’t stand that guy,” Trump said, referring to Sanford and getting the crowd going.
“The Tallahassee Trail — must be a beautiful place. Unfortunately, he didn’t go there,” Trump confusedly told the audience.
Sanford said he was on the House floor when Trump made the comment, but Sanford questioned whether the president mixed up his words or whether the botched phrase was an attempt to continue an old punchline.
“I can’t judge another man’s heart or what he has on his mind, but I have to wonder whether there is a method to the madness,” Sanford said.
Booted out of office in last year's GOP primary, Sanford has since wandered off into the political wilderness. Most recently, he completed a two-month stint teaching as a political fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.
Sanford did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Monday. But the anniversary was recognized by some on social media, further proof Sanford's absence won't soon be forgotten.
Ten years ago today. I was never supposed to be Chief of Staff but no one else survived the job. Eighteen months in, we barely spoke and probably even hated being in the same room. I sure did. pic.twitter.com/c3ImgdaRcp— Scott English (@iamscottenglish) June 24, 2019
10 years ago this week, governor sanford held a memorable news conference after @iamscottenglish @joeldavidsawyer found him & hustled him back to the statehouse. i showed up to it with @KurtPickhardt @PeterHamby @tkinney. i apologize for creepin’ behind that column. pic.twitter.com/nQuuh8uxee— Rob Godfrey (@RobGodfrey) June 24, 2019