Speaking to a crowd in Battle Creek, Michigan, Trump joked that Dingell, who died in February, might be “looking up” on everyone ― insinuating that the Democratic congressman is in hell.
Trump made the comment while bashing Dingell’s widow, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who voted during his rally to impeach the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“I gave the A+ treatment. Take down the flags. ... Do this, do that. Rotunda, everything,” Trump said of memorial arrangements for John Dingell, who was the longest-serving U.S. congressman. ”[Debbie Dingell] calls me up: ‘It’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened. Thank you so much. John would be so thrilled. He’s looking down. He’d be so thrilled.’
“I said, ‘That’s OK, don’t worry about it.’ Maybe he’s looking up, I don’t know,” he joked, to audible groans from the crowd in the Dingells’ home state of Michigan. “I don’t know, maybe.”
John Dingell died Feb. 7 at age 92 in his hometown of Dearborn. Dingell was considered an old-school Democrat and “The Dean” of Congress, representing southeastern Michigan in the House for 59 years before retiring in 2015. Debbie Dingell won the election to succeed him in November 2014.
John Dingell played a key role in passing significant legislation, including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.
Debbie Dingell responded to the president’s comments about her husband after the House’s impeachment vote.
“Mr. President, let’s set politics aside. My husband earned all his accolades after a lifetime of service,” she tweeted. “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.”