Trump claims Sanford remarks booed by lawmakers were well-received
President Trump on Wednesday claimed his most recent attacks on Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) at a closed-door meeting with Sanford’s colleagues were well received, despite multiple lawmakers saying they were greeted with grumbles and boos.
“Had a great meeting with the House GOP last night at the Capitol. They applauded and laughed loudly when I mentioned my experience with Mark Sanford. I have never been a fan of his!” Trump tweeted.
Had a great meeting with the House GOP last night at the Capitol. They applauded and laughed loudly when I mentioned my experience with Mark Sanford. I have never been a fan of his!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2018
At the Tuesday night meeting on immigration, Trump asked if Sanford was in attendance before calling him a “nasty guy.”
The comments were met with boos and and grumbles, according to sources in the room.
“I was very upset. It was very unnecessary and as far as I’m concerned, it was very rude,” Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) said. “To make light of Mark Sanford is very unacceptable.”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) called Trump’s barb a “classless cheap shot” in a tweet after the meeting.
On Wednesday, Amash disputed Trump’s account of the meeting, saying “nobody applauded or laughed.”
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) June 20, 2018
And GOP Rep. Ryan Costello (Pa.) called Trump’s claim “categorically false.”
Categorically false https://t.co/mLLyCFB8im
— Ryan Costello (@RyanCostello) June 20, 2018
Sanford, who lost his primary race last week after intervention by Trump favoring his opponent, was not at the meeting because his flight to Washington, D.C., was delayed.
Sanford appeared on CNN moments after the president’s tweet. He said he believes Trump’s comments during Tuesday’s meeting were meant to warn other Republicans against opposing the president.
“I think part of what the president did yesterday was to send a very chilling message to my colleagues on, ‘hey, if you speak up against me, there will be consequences,’” Sanford said. “And I think that’s the last thing we need in our political system.”
Sanford added that he’s heard from several fellow lawmakers since the meeting.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of colleagues who have come up and said awfully kind things,” he said.
Sanford has been an outspoken critic of the president’s rhetoric, but largely supports the administration’s policies.
Trump had endorsed Sanford’s primary opponent hours before polls closed, saying the South Carolina representative has been “very unhelpful to me in my campaign to [Make America Great Again] MAGA.”