“It just sort of kicked me in the stomach,“ Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said Sunday about President Donald Trump’s suggestion her late husband might be in hell.
Speaking Wednesday at a campaign rally in her home state of Michigan, Trump joked her late husband, longtime Rep. John Dingell, might be “looking up” — a suggestion he could be in hell instead of heaven. The barb drew rebukes from both sides of the aisle, including from such Republicans as Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“I think he crossed the line there,“ Dingell told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
Dingell did say she was grateful to the president for his kindness and empathy toward her when her husband died in February at 92. John Dingell served longer than any member of Congress ever, from December 1955 to January 2015.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham had attributed the president’s remarks about John Dingell to him “riffing” during a raucous rally on the day the House voted to impeached him. Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence‘s chief of staff, on Sunday offered some sympathy for her but also circled back to the impeachment votes.
“I think that — you know, I’m sorry that she’s in this circumstance today, but you know in light of where we were on — was it Wednesday night? — I think the president was saying John Dingell was not exactly a wallflower,“ Short said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Citing her late husband’s connection to President George H.W. Bush, Debbie Dingell said it is necessary to be able to interact in a civil manner even amid disagreements on politics and policy.
"We have to learn in our country that can disagree agreeably,” she said, adding: “What I do want is people to take a deep breath and think going forward that their words have consequences.”
Dingell also said the president’s remarks about her husband reflected a general decline in civility in American society.
“Social media is destroying our sense of community in this country,“ she said. Dingell also urged people to practice “random acts of kindness.“