He then drew reference to closures of other federal sites across the country, including Mount Rushmore.
"I think that, to a degree, the president is overplaying his hand in terms of trying to create political pressure by inconveniencing large numbers of people — whether they're visiting Washington, D.C. or going to other spots that entail or involve federal properties around this country," Sanford said.
News archives from the start of the last federal shutdown in late 1995 offer conflicting accounts of what was closed in Washington at the time.
Some attractions like the National Zoo and the Smithsonian museums were closed. But news stories from the time conflict about whether sites like the Lincoln Memorial were closed.
A Dec. 16, 1995 story from the Associated Press said "tourists were free to … touch the walls of the Vietnam Memorial and climb the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to read the Gettysburg Address."
However, a Dec. 19, 1995 story by the Miami Herald's Washington bureau described the Lincoln memorial as "locked up."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) made a similar claim about the memorials during an interview last week with TPM.
"[Clinton] certainly did not go around and shut the open air monuments on the mall," Gingrich said.
Like Gingrich, Sanford was serving in Congress during the last shutdown.
Correction: This post has been updated to show that news reports from the last government shutdown conflict about what sites were open at the time.