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Story highlights

Donald Trump joked that 'tax problems' required Bernie Sanders to have hernia surgery

Trump also offered to bring back waterboarding and 'go a step further' if he's elected president

Washington CNN —  

Donald Trump joked Monday that Bernie Sanders needed hernia surgery because of the heft of the tax hikes his campaign proposals would carry.

Sanders, the Vermont senator and Democratic presidential contender, was off the campaign trail Monday to have outpatient hernia surgery at George Washington University.

“You know why?” Trump asked a crowd in Macon, Georgia. “Carrying around too much tax problems.”

Trump continued: “Because he’s gonna tax you. He’s gonna tax you. But let’s not even talk about tax problems – he wants to double and triple everyone’s taxes, wants to bring you up to 90%!”

When asked for a response to the insult, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said, “There’s not enough time in the day to respond to every dumb thing Donald Trump says.”

Trump’s Georgia rally with thousands of attendees matched his usual laundry list of poll-topping successes and denunciations of other Republican contenders.

He predicted that several of his foes – particularly New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – will need to attack him in the near future.

“There’s only one way to get to the top and it’s all through Trump, let’s face it,” Trump said.

He also told the crowd he’d bring back waterboarding of terror suspects – and more.

“You want to go a step further than waterboarding?” Trump said. “‘Cause I’m OK with that, too.”