Republican Mark Sanford Warns 'Hitler-Like' Figure May Emerge Under Trump 'Cult of Personality'

Outgoing South Carolina Republican congressman Mark Sanford cautioned Americans against accepting easy promises from a "Hitler-like character," comparing the Nazi Germany leader's post-World War I rise to today's political climate.

Sanford was painted as a "never Trumper" prior to his June GOP congressional primary loss and previously warned South Carolinians against blind loyalty to Trumpism being a "cancerous growth" in the party. And in his send-off message posted to Facebook Wednesday, the 1st congressional district representative cited Adolf Hitler's rise to power as one reason to be concerned about President Donald Trump's "cult of personality." Sanford urged a return to a "reason-based republic."

"We are living in a weird time on this front right now," began Sanford, in a lengthy farewell Facebook post. "It's important that we go back to our roots as a reason-based republic. We seem to flirt with populism about every hundred years in this country, and it seems we are in our latest courtship given the era of Trump. But a cult of personality is never what our Founding Fathers intended. We in fact were to be a nation of laws and not men."

"We are headed for a shipwreck if we don't change course," Sanford noted.

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GOP Rep. Sanford cited Adolf Hitler's rise to power as one reason to be concerned about President Donald Trump's "cult of personality." Sanford urged a return to a "reason-based republic." Getty Images SEAN RAYFORD/Stringer

The GOP candidate who defeated Sanford in the June primary, former Rep. Katie Arrington, blamed her general election defeat in November on Sanford, The State reported at the time. Democrat Joe Cunningham won the 1st District last month in a stunning victory.

Sanford explicitly noted he was not "likening Trump to Hitler," but nonetheless cautioned South Carolina voters and Americans as a whole not to accept "easy promises" from leaders of any kind.

"[I]nevitably a strong man comes along and offers easy promises. He says that he can take care of it for us. People desperate for a change accept his offer. They have to give up a few freedoms in the equation to get more security. It doesn't work out so well, as Hayek's book in this instance is about the rise of Hitler in post-WWI German history," Sanford continued.

"I want to be clear and explicit that I am not likening Trump to Hitler, but the forces at play could lead to a future Hitler-like character if we don't watch out. It must be remembered that another thing that Benjamin Franklin said was that he who trades his freedom for security, deserves neither. Indeed, how true."

The former Air Force Reserve member was elected to his current U.S. House term in 2013 after serving as Governor of South Carolina from 2003 through 2011. Sanford thanked his family and supporters and cited the film It's a Wonderful Life for reminding him "how blessed I have been" to participate in civic debates for decades amid the Christmas season.

He criticized the Trump administration's innumerable attacks against news media organizations, saying the country's Founding Fathers enshrined the First Amendment for a reason.

"[W]e can't accept the idea of 'fake news.' I have certainly had more than my share of bad stories of my time in politics," wrote Sanford. "Some of them were indeed not designed to bring forward the truth but were rather attempts at discovering the most sensational nugget or line regardless of its context. And context is key to understanding any new bit of information before us. But this does not make all news fake. In the former Soviet Union, they have truly fake news, and attempts to equate what's happening here with what happened there is most dangerous. There is a reason that the Founding Fathers enshrined the idea of a free and open press in the First Amendment."