In a move that may disappoint some children in his neighborhood, Republican Rep. Mark Sanford is giving trick-or-treaters pocket Constitutions for Halloween this year. Sanford, who recently lost his primary for reelection, announced the move on Twitter on Wednesday, and was promptly mocked for it.
"Happy Halloween," Sanford wrote. "Accordingly, Pocket Constitutions are at the ready for today’s trick-or-treaters." He attached a picture of a wicker basket adorned with a witch's hat and full of pamphlet-sized Constitutions.
In a Facebook post, Sanford confirmed that he won't be handing out candy to any kids who come knocking at his door this Halloween. Only pocket Constitutions. Needless to say, trick-or-treaters usually expect to receive candy and sweets, not a history lesson, when going door-to-door, and Twitter almost unanimously disapproved of Sanford's move after he announced it on social media.
"Mark, tomorrow morning when you're spraying the rotten eggs off your house, remember not to use a power washer," author Jason Miller wrote. "It can damage the siding."
"Even the founding fathers would have given out some Snickers or 100 Grands, dude," a Twitter user with the handle @Slade wrote. "Good luck getting the TP out of your tree."
"This guy definitely got beat up a lot at school," Brandon Katz theorized.
Sanford has had a somewhat unusual career trajectory, having served in the House of Representatives in the 1990s, then as South Carolina's governor, and then in the House again. Once considered a rising star in the Republican Party, Sanford was at various points seen as a possible vice presidential pick for John McCain in the 2008 election or a viable presidential candidate himself.
However, Sanford's reputation took a serious hit when, during his second term as governor in 2009, he abruptly disappeared from public view for nearly a week without explanation, concerning state residents and lawmakers. Several days into his disappearance, Sanford's staff told reporters that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail to "clear his head," but two days later, the governor returned to the state and said that he'd actually been having an extramarital affair in Argentina. Since then, "hiking the Appalachian Trail" has become slang for slipping away to meet with a secret romantic partner.
But Sanford didn't resign, and although he was censured by the state legislature, he avoided impeachment and served out his term. In 2013, he ran for his old Congressional seat in a special election and won. He's represented that district ever since, and has emerged as one of President Trump's fiercest critics within the Republican Party. In June, however, Sanford lost his primary for reelection; the Post and Courier reported that days later, Trump mocked Sanford's loss in a closed-door meeting with other Republicans and was booed for doing so.
Although Sanford's pocket Constitution plan was widely panned on social media, some users saw an upside in his gambit.
"This is actually a brilliant way to ensure that kids leave you alone on Halloween," user @EsotericCD wrote.