Rep. Debbie Dingell on Sunday described President Donald Trump‘s distasteful jab about her late husband’s eternal fate during a Michigan rally on Wednesday night as feeling like she was hit in the stomach.
According to Politico, Dingell was asked by Fox News host Chris Wallace about the incident, which happened at the same time House Democrats were on their way to formally pass a vote on two articles of impeachment against the president.
“It just sort of kicked me in the stomach,” Dingell said.
“I think he crossed the line there.”
Trump suggested during his campaign rally in Dingell’s home state of Michigan that the late Democratic lawmaker Rep. John Dingell might be “looking up,” with the implication that he would be looking up from hell.
The White House attempted to dismiss the president’s joke, with press secretary Stephanie Grisham writing off Trump’s joke as nothing more than “riffing” during a campaign rally while he was simultaneously being impeached in the House.
Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, also attempted to downplay the incident by offering some level of sympathy for Debbie Dingell.
“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.
But the defense of Trump’s remarks were hard to come by, even on the Republican side of the aisle. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Republicans, including top allies such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, weren’t exactly thrilled with the president’s attack on the deceased lawmaker — a man who also holds the title of the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history.
Republican Rep. Tom Cole called Trump’s joke “extraordinarily inappropriate,” while explaining that it was an honor to serve with the late Rep. Dingell, even being on the opposite side of the political aisle.
Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Fred Upton, took his remarks a step further and reportedly called on the president to issue an apology for his joke about Dingell’s eternal fate.
Republican Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler called Trump’s remarks “really sad” while criticizing the president for speaking ill of the dead. She also pointed out that deceased politicians shouldn’t be the subject of any jokes.
Despite expressing her disappointment and sadness over Trump’s attack on her deceased husband, Dingell pointed out that she was grateful for Trump’s empathy when she lost her husband in February.