Defeated GOP Rep. Mark Sanford: Not standing up to Trump will have 'harmful consequences'

Sanford told NBC's "Meet the Press" that more Republicans are not speaking out because they fear losing elections.

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By Adam Edelman

South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, who lost his primary election earlier this week after a broadside from President Donald Trump, said in an interview set to air Sunday on "Meet the Press" that "there are no seeming consequences to the president and lies."

Accepting that, Sanford told NBC's Chuck Todd in excerpts of the interview released Friday, "is going to have incredibly harmful consequences in the way that we operate going forward, based on the construct of the Founding Fathers."

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Sanford also criticized members of his own party, acknowledging that others are unlikely to join him in speaking out because they don't want to criticize Trump and face a similar fate of losing an election.

"People are running for the hills. And again everybody, what you do as an elected official is, an old-time senator told me years ago, the name of the game is staying in the game," he said, responding to a question from NBC’s Chuck Todd about why more Republicans haven’t spoken out against the president.

Earlier this week, Sanford had warned his fellow Republicans that the "question of allegiance" to Trump could damage the GOP.

Those initial comments came just hours after he lost his primary race to Katie Arrington, a state representative. Arrington had spent much of the campaign criticizing Sanford over his lack of loyalty to Trump, and Trump endorsed her Tuesday with just a few hours left before polls closed.

Trump also ripped Sanford's disagreements with him, as well as the lawmaker's much-publicized extramarital affair with an Argentinian journalist.

Tune in to “Meet the Press” on Sunday for the full exclusive interview with Rep. Sanford.