Observers struggled to find words sufficient to express their disgust after President Donald Trump suggested at a Michigan rally Wednesday night that former Rep. John Dingell—who passed away in February at the age of 92—is in hell following his widow Rep. Debbie Dingell's vote in support of impeachment.
"I'm preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder."
—Rep. Debbie Dingell
"Debbie Dingell, that's a real beauty," Trump said as he boasted about the funeral honors he allowed for John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history.
Trump claimed Rep. Debbie Dingell called him after the funeral and thanked him for the proceedings. Dingell's office told reporters that the congresswoman, who succeeded her husband in 2015, did not call the president.
"'John would be so thrilled. He's looking down, he'd be so thrilled. Thank you so much, sir,'" Trump said Dingell told him. "I said, 'That's ok, don't worry about it. Maybe he's looking up, I don't know.'"
Absolutely disgusting. One of the worst things this very horrible man has ever said. And that’s not easy.
He just joked about an esteemed Congressmen who recently passed away, John Dingell, being in hell.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) December 19, 2019
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Dingell, a champion of Medicare for All and Social Security expansion like her late husband, tweeted a brief response to the president's cruel remarks Wednesday night.
"Mr. President, let's set politics aside," said Dingell. "My husband earned all his accolades after a lifetime of service. I'm preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder."
Mr. President, let’s set politics aside. My husband earned all his accolades after a lifetime of service. I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.
— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) December 19, 2019
Trump's comments came after Dingell joined nearly the entire Democratic caucus in voting for two articles of impeachment that charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
In an op-ed for the New York Times ahead of the vote Wednesday, the Michigan Democrat said she came to support impeachment after "after careful study of testimony, investigative reports, and history."
"By the end, I was convinced: The facts showed that President Trump and his administration put politics over country by asking a foreign government to investigate a political rival while withholding military aid that affects our national security," Dingell wrote.
"Did President Trump's actions rise to the level of a threat to our democracy? Yes," the congresswoman added. "Future generations and historians will judge us if we did not address these dangers. I will cast my vote to protect our Constitution, our democratic republic and the future of our country."