CNN on Sunday posthumously aired a final interview with former Rep. Paul MitchellPaul MitchellSeven takeaways from California's recall election Opposition to California recall widens in new poll CNN posthumously airs final interview with late Rep. Paul Mitchell MORE (I-Mich.), who died after a battle with renal cancer last week.
In the interview, Mitchell pleads for more bipartisanship in American politics, saying that society was struggling due to deep divisions.
“I’d like to talk with President BidenJoe BidenManchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability MORE and some of the people I know in the administration about, we need real bipartisanship,” Mitchell told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperButtigieg says delay in climate action will cost lives amid reports of Manchin roadblock Buttigieg says supply chain troubles could last into next year Kinzinger defends not supporting voting rights act: 'Democrats have to quit playing politics' MORE.
“Our country, our society is struggling, and it’s struggling because people can’t accept that they believe in different things, and look for what they agree on and decide whether someone’s a good person or not. And that’s too bad,” he added.
Fmr. GOP Rep. Paul Mitchell, who died earlier this month after a battle with cancer, asked for this interview to be run after he passed. He expressed his wish for “real bipartisanship” within the country. “I think you have to choose whether or not to love people.” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/7mXNYCELib— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) August 22, 2021
Mitchell in June revealed that he was recently diagnosed with stage 4 renal cancer and had surgery to remove a mass and blood clot located near his heart.
On Aug. 16, just over two months after disclosing his diagnosis, Mitchell’s wife Sherry announced that her husband had passed away.
The former congressman made headlines in December when he announced that he was leaving the Republican Party, citing former President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE’s efforts to reject the 2020 presidential election results as the reason behind his decision.
Mitchell, during his interview with Tapper, urged viewers to “learn to understand people and judge less, and love more and let’s have less hatred,” contending that the latter is “destroying our society… our political process.”
“You see what’s going on, where it’s, ‘let's rev up the base, those people are evil.’ It’s destructive and honestly people, just take the time to care about the other person, when you care about them, it’s hard to hate them,” he added.
He also made the case for creating connections with people that others may not agree with, telling Tapper that there is value in those relationships.
“For me, it’s innate to just say where can we agree. There’s value in people you don’t agree with. It's easy to find people you agree with, there’s value in people that we may disagree with on something strongly, but that doesn’t inherently make them a bad person,” Mitchell said.
“I’ve got good friends on the Democratic side. What we agree on is maybe 10 or 15 percent, but I think the world of them,” he added.
He said going forward people will have to choose “whether or not to love people or to go through life trying to get political gain, some of it by creating hatred.”
Mitchell announced in July 2019 that he would not seek reelection in 2020, referencing frustrations with political bitterness in Washington.
He told Tapper he retired from Congress “when it became clear that I couldn’t uphold my responsibilities as a dad to him in Congress,” referring to his youngest son, one of his six children, who he and his wife adopted from Russia.