President Trump had some harsh words for U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn and her late husband, former Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, during his “Merry Christmas” rally in Battle Creek, Michigan on Wednesday. Trump implied that the late congressman was in hell by saying he was “looking up” at his wife Debbie.
“You know Dingell from Michigan? Debbie Dingell, that’s a real beauty.” Trump begins. He then talks about Rep. John Dingell’s passing and how Debbie called him when he died in February, “so she calls me up like 8 months ago her husband was here a long time. I didn’t give him the ‘B’ treatment, I didn’t give him the ‘C’ or the ‘D’, I could’ve. I gave him the ‘A+’ treatment.”
“Take down the flags! ‘Why are you taking them down?’ ‘For ex-congressman Dingel.’ ‘Oh Ok.’ Do this, do that, do that, rotunda, everything. I gave him everything.” He said of honoring the late congressman’s life, “That’s OK, I don’t want anything, I don’t need anything for anything!.” He exclaimed.
“She calls me up and says ‘that’s the nicest thing that ever happens, thank you so much'” the President said in a somewhat mocking tone, “‘John would be so thrilled, he’s looking down he’d be so thrilled, thank you so much.'”
“I said ‘that’s OK don’t worry about it’, maybe he’s looking up? I don’t know.” The president quipped. Implying that the late congressman was in Hell. “Maybe, but let’s assume he’s looking down.”
Rep. John Dingell died from prostate cancer in February 2019.
President Trump continues his tirade by saying he “won’t go into the conversation” between him and Debbie despite just having gone into the conversation then reveals the reason he’s attacking John Dingell, her support of the impeachment inquiry.
“It was the most profuse thank you, you could ever get,” Trump says, “Now they talk about this phony impeachment and she’s out there,” he puts on a voice imitating Debbie, “Well, we have to look seriously at our President, because he may have violated the constitution of the United States. And I can’t be happy with that because I love our country!”
“She loves this, she loves that, she loves everything. I said ‘She’s a No’, OK. I look at her and she’s so sincere and what happens? ‘I vote to impeach Trump’.”
You can view all of Trump’s remarks in the video below:
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham defended Trump’s comments in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, “I would say that I am very, very sorry for her loss,” Grisham said. When pressed on the issue as to why Trump would mock the deceased congressman, she responded, “You’d have to talk to the president about that. He was at a political rally. He has been under attack, and under impeachment attack, for the last few months, and then just under attack politically for the last two-and-a-half years. I think that as we all know, the president is a counter-puncher.”
The President’s remarks on the late congressman drew criticisms from both sides of the aisle.
Rep. Debbie Dingell and Others Respond To Trump’s Insults
Debbie Dingell’s didn’t fight fire with fire and instead of attacking Donald Trump posted a heartbreaking response on Twitter.
“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.”
Dingell told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Monday that she was “really hurt” by Trump’s tweet. “It really felt awful, you want to know the truth,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion. “I’m already missing him.”
“I was very grateful for his call, he really did care about my loss,” Dingell said of Trump. “And so it really hurt. To say to you that that didn’t shake me and didn’t bother me would be a lie.”
Michigan Rep. Haley Stevens came to the Dingells’ defense. “This is shameful Mr. President. Insinuating that John Dingell, a loving catholic, WWII hero, now rests in hell. How dare you?” she tweeted. “I have no words for the pain you are causing my dear friend Debbie Dingell and the people of Michigan right now.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned Trump’s comments as well, “The president clearly is insecure when it comes to statespersons — whether it was John McCain… now John Dingell. What the President misunderstands is that cruelty is not wit.” she said. “It’s not funny at all, it’s very sad.”
It wasn’t just the Democrats, Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton also came to Debbie’s defense and demanded an apology from Trump.
“I’ve always looked up to John Dingell – my good friend and a great Michigan legend. There was no need to ‘dis’ him in a crass political way. Most unfortunate and an apology is due.” Upton wrote.
The family of late Rep. John McCain, who was insulted several times by President Trump following his death, also came to the defense of Debbie Dingell. Meghan McCain went on Twitter and lambasted the President’s comments in a series of Tweets.
“The comments from Trump about Rep Dingell is utterly sick and cruel.” She wrote. “I am sending strength to the Dingell family, especially his wife Debbie. Take heed in knowing he only attacks people for whom he is threatened by their great legacies. History will forever judge him very harshly.”
She added a second tweet where she posted the footage and said “Bullying widows at public rallies? SICK.” Meghan’s mom, Cindy, added her two cents on Twitter but focused on supporting Debbie instead of commenting on Trump. “I’m terribly sorry. Please know I am thinking about you.” She said.
Donald Trump criticized war veteran and former Rep. John McCain several times following his death last year. He said he never got a “thank you” for organizing McCain’s funeral. “I endorsed him at his request, and I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as President I had to approve. I don’t care about this. I didn’t get a thank you. That’s OK. We sent him on the way. But I wasn’t a fan of John McCain,” he said at the time.
The “thank you” didn’t seem to matter in Debbie Dingell’s case as the president attacked her even though in his words she thanked him “profusely.”
Trump later criticized the late senator again over his support of the controversial Russia dossier and his vote against repealing Obamacare. He said McCain was “last in his class” at the US Naval Academy.
Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson from Georgia called Trump’s insults of the late senator “deplorable” at the time and said in a separate speech, “anybody who in any way tarnishes the reputation of John McCain deserves a whipping because most of those who would do the wrong thing about John McCain didn’t have the guts to do the right thing when it was their turn.”