(CNN)South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford said in an interview Wednesday after his primary loss that he's not upset with President Donald Trump for tweeting support of his opponent a few hours before polls closed.
Sanford says he hopes his loss won't have a chilling effect on fellow Republicans
"I wouldn't say it made my day, and it's not what anybody would yearn for in the world of politics, but it is what it is," Sanford told a small group of reporters in the Capitol.
Reflecting the day after his loss, Sanford acknowledged that his election had become a referendum on if he was supportive enough of the President -- who he has outspokenly criticized at times.
"That's ultimately what the race devolved down to, which was, 'Was I Trump enough vs. not,'" Sanford said.
On Wednesday night in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Sanford said he thinks it's important to "have vigorous dissent" among the branches of government and within the Republican Party.
"It is OK to disagree," Sanford said on "Anderson Cooper 360."
"What's interesting is my voting record has been 89% with the President, and therefore to send a tweet out to say not supportive -- A. not true, but B. goes to this larger question of do we want to have a litmus test or do we want to have folks who will agree with us 80-90% of the time and say, you're on the team?" he continued.
But earlier on Wednesday, he also said he hopes that his loss won't have a chilling effect on fellow Republicans, saying "vigorous dissent is the hallmark" of democracy and "a sign of health in our political system."
Sanford reflected on voters, lamenting that Americans seem to be eager to roll back democratic institutions.
"There's a temptation, given the American public's frustration with the political system, ... to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and 'let's discard all these institutions that have served us incredibly well for 200+ years,'" Sanford said.
He aligned himself with comments from retiring Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker on Wednesday that the party was in a "cult-like situation" with the President, referring a question about the atmosphere to what Corker said.
"It's a very tribal environment right now," Sanford said. "The playing field of ideas that many of us came into in the class of '94 ... it's devolved to: are you for or against the President, are you for or against Trump?"