President Donald Trump stormed Capitol Hill tonight to whip House Republicans into line over his policy of separating families at the southern border, making sure to remind them what happens when you cross him.
“Is Mark Sanford here? I just want to congratulate him on running a great race,” Trump snarked, after which he called Sanford, who was in the room, a “nasty guy,” according to multiple press accounts.
Trump famously is credited with costing Sanford his first race in his decades-long career, to Katie Arrington, who had packaged herself as the more devoted Trump-er.
Sanford voted for Trump’s tax break and supported Trump’s campaign to kill Obamacare. But he got branded a traitor for remarks critical of POTUS.
Trump nuked Sanford before the election with this tweet:
Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2018
Sanford told Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd he lost his primary because he wasn’t “Trump enough,” adding that, “people are running for cover because they don’t want to be on the losing side of a presidential tweet.” He called it “a twilight world that I’ve never seen.”
According to witnesses, when Trump asked if Sanford was in the room tonight, the Republicans grew quiet. When Trump called him “nasty,” only a few dared to boo.
Trump presumably was looking to squash any thought they might have had of a stand-alone bill forcing his administration to stop his new baby-snatching border control policy.
Trump did, however, at least acknowledge to the GOP lawmakers that the “crying babies do not look good politically.”
Maybe his Sanford crack was intended to silence their public remarks that his policy of separating children from parents is out of step with American values. Speaking to a Washington business confab today, Trump explained his baby-snatching policy is needed to deter immigrants who are “infesting” the United States.