COLUMBIA, S.C. (CN) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford apologized personally to his cabinet this afternoon for both his disappearance this past week and for events related to his extramarital affair with an Argentinean woman. But he did not resign.
“I wanted generally to apologize to every one of you for letting you down,” he said, gathering his cabinet together and carrying out his first official duties at the state Capitol complex since his bombshell admission of the affair on Wednesday.
On Thursday the governor had spent several hours with his family at the Sanford family home on Sullivan’s Island, outside of Charleston. Sanford said over the course of the 110-mile drive back to the capitol later in the day he stopped several times to meet personally with friends and supporters and apologized to them as well.
As photographers cameras snapped and flashed, Sanford went on to tell cabinet members that part of moving on from the crisis he precipitated is to remember that they all have specific duties and obligations to the people of the state.
“You have to continue to perform those duties, regardless of whether I’ve got it right or wrong on a given day,” he said.
As for the fulfillment of his own duties, Sanford continues to maintain that he will not resign over his indiscretions; in fact, he went so far as to compare himself to the biblical King David.
“He fell mightily, he fell in very significant ways, but was able to pick up the pieces,” Sanford said.
It was hard to gauge merely from facial expression how individual cabinet members took all this. Among those seatedacross from him as he spoke was Reggie Lloyd, the state’s chief law enforcement officer, who has said he actively opened an investigation into the governor’s whereabouts over the last weekend before being assured that he was safe and “hiking.”
“I owe you Reggie, for putting you in a bad place,” Sanford said.
The governor then nodded toward Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor, apologizing for visiting his mistress in Argentina, now identified in South American press reports as Maria Belen Chapur, a 43-year-old former television reporter, while ostensibly on a taxpayer-financed trade mission last June.
“I owe it to you very specifically, Joe, as well as everyone at Commerce, who engaged in a very professional trade mission. I put you all in a bad spot,” Sanford said.
The man who would replace South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford if he resigned over his affair with a woman in Argentina says the governor should remain in office.
Elsewhere in Columbia, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has told the Associated Press that he does not believe the governor should resign, and asserted that he will try to help Sanford complete the last year and a half of his term.
He said the two men met Thursday, but did not discuss whether Sanford was considering resigning.