Trump asked if Bernie Sanders was going to run against him 'in a wheelchair' in 2017 dinner with moderate House Democrats, book says

Former President Donald Trump and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Former President Donald Trump and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.Allison Joyce and Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Trump hosted a group of moderate House Democrats in 2017 as he sought to pass tax reform.

  • But according to a new book, that conversation included little discussion of actual legislation.

  • Instead, he asked the group about potential Democratic presidential challengers, including Sanders.

Former President Donald Trump speculated as to whether Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont would be "in a wheelchair" ahead of a then-expected 2020 presidential campaign, according to a new book.

In "Confidence Man," New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman reports that Trump hosted a group of moderate House Democrats — including Reps. Stephanie Murphy of Florida and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey — for a dinner in June 2017, where the Democrats pitched him on passing an infrastructure spending package alongside a tax reform bill.

According to the book, Trump ended up talking very little about legislation.

Instead, he listed off the names of several potential Democratic candidates who might have sought to challenge him for the presidency in 2020.

He declared that "Crooked" Hillary Clinton would not run again, while asking the group about "Pocahontas," referring to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

"Is he going to run in a wheelchair?" Trump reportedly asked about Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the self-described socialist firebrand who run against Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary and would go on to run again in 2020.

Haberman also reported that Trump was "pretending with hand motions to wheel himself around" as he made the remark.

Trump also reportedly boasted that he was popular in Murphy's Orlando-area district, despite losing it to Clinton in the presidential election the previous year, while taunting Gottheimer that unlike the congressman, he would get to "keep my title for life" if he were defeated at the polls.

Ironically, Haberman also reported that Trump praised countries with nationalized healthcare systems even as he sought to overturn the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare."

"Why don't we do that here?" he asked of Scotland's healthcare system, citing the physical appearance of male ambulance drivers in conversations with aides.

Sanders's Senate office did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

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