House

Debbie Dingell responds to Trump: 'You brought me down in a way you can never imagine'

Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell (D) spoke out late Wednesday after President Trump attacked her late husband, longtime Congressman John Dingell (D-Mich.), at a rally following the House's impeachment vote. 

Just hours after Trump suggested that John Dingell was "looking up" instead of down, Debbie Dingell tweeted that the president's comments hurt her "in a way you can never imagine." 

"Mr. President, let's set politics aside. My husband earned all his accolades after a lifetime of service," said Dingell, whose husband served in Congress for nearly 60 years and died in February.

"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."

The president attacked both John and Debbie Dingell while speaking at a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Mich., just an hour after the House voted to impeach him for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump became the third president in U.S. history to face removal from the Senate, though that remains unlikely. 

Trump complained that Debbie Dingell had joined her Democratic colleagues in voting for impeachment despite the fact that he gave "A-plus treatment" to John Dingell during his memorial services. Trump had ordered the flags to be lowered at half-staff at the time of John Dingell's death. 

"She calls me up. 'That's the nicest thing that ever happened. Thank you so much. John would be so thrilled. He's looking down. He'd be so thrilled,'" Trump said, quoting the congresswoman. 

"Maybe he's looking up. I don't know. ... But let's assume he's looking down," he added. "But let's assume he's looking down."

He then went on to deride Debbie Dingell over her impeachment vote, reiterating that she had given the "most profuse thank-you" to him following her husband's death. 

"Now, they talk about this phony impeachment, and she's up there, 'Well, we have to look seriously at our president because he may have violated the Constitution of the United States,'" Trump said, prompting boos from the audience. 

Speaking on CNN's "New Day" Thursday morning, Dingell pushed back against Trump's version of events following her husband's death. She said that Trump had called her about flags being lowered to half-staff. Asked if Trump was "lying" about the phone call, she said that she didn't want to sink to the president's "level" and get into a dispute. 

"My family is still hurting. We're a family grieving. I think we should take a lesson from this and all respect each other," she added. 

Several Democratic lawmakers vehemently condemned Trump over his attacks. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) called Trump's insults "reprehensible"; Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) called them "shameful." 

"Mr. President. Insinuating that John Dingell, a loving catholic, WWII hero, now rests in hell," Stevens said on Twitter. "How dare you? I have no words for the pain you are causing my dear friend Debbie Dingell and the people of Michigan right now."

Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was a repeated target of Trump's, also offered support to Debbie Dingell, tweeting: "I'm terribly sorry. Please know I am thinking about you."

John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history, represented Michigan in the House of Representatives from 1955 to 2015. His wife succeeded him in 2015.

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