Sanford on loss: It came down to one question
01:27 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

President Donald Trump brought up GOP Rep. Mark Sanford’s primary loss last week during a meeting on immigration Tuesday with House Republicans, according to members in the room.

Trump first asked whether Sanford was present, according to one member in the room. When he heard Sanford wasn’t, Trump called him a “nasty guy,” according to sources.

Arizona’s Republican Rep. Paul Gosar told CNN there were “moans” and “groans” when the President called out Sanford.

Rep. Mark Walker, a North Carolina Republican who’s the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said he didn’t remember exactly what Trump said about Sanford but that “it didn’t go over great in the room.”

“There were a few moans. Mark’s one of our colleagues, and agree with him or not,” Walker said, “he’s an honest man.”

“That’s kind of kicking a man when he’s down,” a House member in the room told CNN. “That’s not who we are.”

A day later, Trump tweeted that he received applause and laughs from the GOP lawmakers on his Sanford comment.

“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!” he tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Sanford, a South Carolina Republican who’s a critic of Trump, lost his GOP primary to his conservative challenger, state Rep. Katie Arrington.

On Election Day, Trump endorsed Arrington hours before the polls closed last Tuesday in a tweet attacking Sanford for being “very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA.”

Sanford has repeatedly criticized the President and didn’t back off that criticism in debates with Arrington.

Sanford addressed Trump’s previous criticism of him after he lost last week, saying it’s “fairly unusual” for a President to weigh in as Trump did and saying he’s “neither for nor against Trump,” but instead bases his decisions and comments on his political values.

“It may cost me an election in this case, but I stand by every one of those decisions to disagree with the President,” Sanford said at the time.

CNN’s Tal Kopan, Eric Bradner and Manu Raju contributed to this report.