La Nacion newspaper in Buenos Aires has identified the woman in Agentina with whom Governor Mark Sanford has been having an affair. 43-year-old Maria Belen Chapeur is described as a mother of two sons from a previous marriage. A neighbor described her to the newpaper as a beautiful brunette who plays tennis, goes jogging and has large eyes.
Meanwhile, a number of Internet rumors say the governor will resign between Friday and Monday. Many have been pure speculation, beginning with the one that promised a 5:00 p.m. Thursday announcement. But Sanford was with his family in Sullivan’s Island Thursday.
But he will be in Columbia Friday. Sanford has called a cabinet meeting for 12:30 p.m. Friday. Lexington County Republican Senator Jake Knotts has called a press conference for 1:00 p.m. Friday at the Statehouse.
In a press release Thursday, Sanford said that he attended a trade mission with the Department of Commerce last June in Argentina with government and private business officials in both Brazil and Argentina. He says the purpose of that trip was an entirely professional and appropriate business development trip, but he also says he made the mistake of meeting with the woman at that time with whom he was having a relationship. Because of that, Sanford says he will reimburse the state for the full cost of the Argentina leg of that trip.
And how does Sanford’s behavior look compared to his criticism of former President Bill Clinton’s affair more than a decade ago?
The Charleston quoted Sanford in 1998 saying this about Clinton, “I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign). I come from the business side. If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he’d be gone.”
CNN quoted Sanford five months later, saying, “The issue of lying is probably the biggest harm, if you will, to the system of Democratic government, representatives government, because it undermines trust. And if you undermine trust in our system, you undermine everything.”