Debbie Dingell, who has served in Congress from Michigan since 2015, responded to Donald Trump on Wednesday night after he suggested at a campaign rally that her late husband, the legendary Congressional representative John Dingell, went to hell after he died. In a pained message on her Twitter account, the widow told Trump, “you brought me down in a way you can never imagine.”
Trump appeared to be in an especially hostile mood at the rally, which took place at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Michigan, at the same time the House was casting its historic vote to approve articles of impeachment against him. In the same rally speech, Trump also claimed that his 2016 election opponent Hillary Clinton was too out of shape to walk up the stairs.
Trump appeared to be reacting to the fact that Debbie Dingell cast one of the 230 votes to impeach him for abuse of power — and one of 229 to impeach him for obstruction of Congress — when he sarcastically called her “a real beauty,” as quoted in a report by The Detroit Free Press.
John Dingell represented Michigan in the House from 1955 until his retirement in 2015 at age 89, making him the longest-standing member of Congress in United States history, serving under 11 presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama, as Politico recounted.
Dingell died in February, and Trump at the rally claimed that Debbie Dingell called to thank him for what Trump called the “A plus” treatment at John Dingell’s funeral.
Michiganders do a brief double-take when Trump jokes that veteran Rep. John Dingell may have gone to hell when he died. pic.twitter.com/Bv503szBLJ— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 19, 2019
Trump claimed that he “gave” the Capitol rotunda as a sight for Dingell to lie in state. But as The Free Press pointed out, presidents have no control over the rotunda, which is under control of Congress.
Trump claimed that Dingell’s widow told him that her husband would be “looking down” happy with the funeral. But Trump then added, “Maybe he’s looking up. I don’t know,” suggesting that Dingell had gone to hell rather than heaven.
Dingell’s widow, in her response to Trump, said that she was badly hurt by Trump’s words.
“I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love,” she wrote on Twitter.
“You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.”
John Dingell himself, a World War II veteran, was an outspoken opponent of Trump, though he retired two years before Trump took office. In a 2017 Tweet, Dingell appeared to accuse Trump of “fascism,” and said, that he “signed up to fight Nazis 73 years ago and I’ll do it again if I have to.”