COLUMBIA, S.C. — The wife of embattled South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford called his affair with an Argentine woman "inexcusable" but said Thursday she is willing to forgive him.
Jenny Sanford's e-mailed statement was her first public comment since her husband told the Associated Press this week that his mistress is his soul mate, but he is trying to fall back in love with his wife.
"My forgiveness is essential for us both to move on with our lives, with peace, in whatever direction that may take us," Jenny Sanford said in the statement. "Mark has stated that his intent and determination is to save our marriage, and to make amends to the people of South Carolina. I hope he can make good on those intentions, and for the sake of our boys."
She said it is up to South Carolina voters and elected officials to decide whether they can "give Mark another chance."
Sanford returned last week from a secret trip to Argentina to see his mistress, Maria Belen Chapur. His staff had told the public he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, and he later apologized for misleading them.
Jenny Sanford said she learned of the affair in January when she discovered a letter Sanford wrote to Chapur. She said he repeatedly asked permission to go to Argentina to see Chapur, but she denied it.
Mark Sanford's spokesman, Joel Sawyer, said Thursday that the governor plans to spend the holiday weekend with his wife and sons in Florida. The Palm Beach Post reported Wednesday that Jenny Sanford was living at a home her parents own in Hobe Sound, and several cars with South Carolina license plates were seen Thursday going into and coming out of the gated community where the house is located.