Widowed congresswoman Debbie Dingell on Thursday responded to comments by President Trump at a rally about her late husband, Rep. John Dingell, whom the President implied is “looking up” from hell and said her family “are still hurting” from the loss of her husband.
Trump said on Wednesday that he gave the family of the late Michigan representative “A-plus treatment” after John Dingell, the longest serving congressman and a WWII veteran, died.
Trump also claimed that his wife, Debbie Dingell, who now holds her husband’s Michigan seat in the House, told Trump that her late husband would have been “thrilled” by the respect shown at his funeral and “he’s looking down” on the ceremony.
“Maybe he’s looking up,” Trump said, drawing some groans from the crowd in Battle Creek, Michigan. “Maybe, but let’s assume he’s looking down.”
Speaking of Trump’s comments about her late husband, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell told CNN on Thursday: “I think it’s time to put politics aside…I try to be respectful of everybody. I’ve never taken a personal shot at this president. I think his family is off limits.”
“My family is still hurting,” Dingell said. “We are a family grieving. So I think we should take a lesson from this and all respect each other.”
“Some things should be off limits, and you know what? We are all human beings,” she added.
Responding to a question about whether she is calling for an apology from the President, Dingell added: “I don’t want to politicize my husband, I don’t want to politicize his death. It is something I’m really grieving over.”
“This Thanksgiving was really hard and Christmas is harder. And I’m going to go back to doing my job, and doing a good job for the people of my district.”
Dingell was quick to respond to the President’s comments on Wednesday, accusing him of making her grief much harder to overcome.
“Mr. President, let’s set politics aside,” Dingell, who voted in favor of Trump’s historic impeachment on Wednesday, tweeted. “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.”
Responding to Congresswoman Dingell’s tweet, Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Senator John McCain, said: “I’m terribly sorry. Please know I am thinking of you.”
“I’ve always looked up to John Dingell – my good friend and a great Michigan legend,” tweeted Republican congressman Fred Upton of Michigan on Wednesday. “There was no need to ‘dis’ him in a crass political way. Most unfortunate and an apology is due.”
The White House Press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham, didn’t comment directly on the President’s remarks but told CBS on Thursday: “You’ve got to remember that this President has been under attack now for two and a half years.
“Tensions are high. At the rally last night there was a lot of passionate people and I think that a lot of riffing was going on,” Grisham said. “But at the end of the day, the President did all he could to honor her husband and we are very very sorry for the loss.”
The President’s comments come days after Trump made similar remarks on Twitter. On Saturday, he said: “The last time I spoke to Debbie Dingell was her call thanking me for granting top memorial and funeral service honors for her then just departed husband, long-time Congressman John Dingell.
“Now I watch her ripping me as part of the Democrats Impeachment Hoax. Really pathetic!”