Outgoing Rep. Mark Sanford decried the "collective amnesia" that some Americans have about accepting President Donald Trump's version of truth, saying the U.S. has a "profound problem" if the guy with the biggest pulpit gets to determine what truth is.
Sanford, R-S.C., made the comments during a Q&A with The Washington Post. He was reacting to the president's tweet about receiving laughs and applause after his knock on Sanford earlier this week.
According to Republican lawmakers at the meeting, Trump was booed for his "classless cheap shot" aimed at Sanford, fresh off a primary loss.
While that individual tweet itself innocuous, Sanford says it's indicative of a larger problem with truth.
"The beauty of an American political system is we can agree to disagree. But the starting point in that conversation, in a reason-based republic, is that there are objective facts, that there is truth," Sanford told the Post. "And if truth is determined by the person with the loudest bully pulpit as opposed to what is objectively true, we have a profound problem.
"We're playing with real fire in a reason-based republic," Sanford said.
Even worse than the distortion of truth is the ability of Americans - including GOP lawmakers - to accept Trump's lies.
"We've morphed into some kind of larger collective amnesia where we accept something that isn't the truth multiple times in a day as just being the way it is," Sanford told the Post.
"There is something big about that tweet, irrelevant to the tweet itself, but symptomatic of the larger amnesia that we're collectively in as a society," Sanford said.
Sanford says Trump's original remarks about him sent a message to Republicans.
"It's about really, one could argue, a very corrosive message being sent to everybody in that conference. He's saying: 'I'm going to send a message to every one of you guys that if you mess with me, there could be a consequence for you,'" Sanford said.
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