US House Republicans who on Wednesday night opposed the impeachment of President Donald Trump have turned round to rebuke him over a reckless comment he made against the late Democratic Rep. John Dingell and his widow, Rep. Debbie Dingell.
The Republican lawmakers agree with their Democratic counterparts that Trump spoke inappropriately and unhinged.
During a rally in Michigan on Wednesday night, Trump the Dingells, following Debbie Dingell’s votes in favour of two articles of impeachment, suggesting the former dean of the House was “looking up” from hell after noting he lowered flags to half-staff in the wake of his death.
“She calls me up. ‘It’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened. Thank you so much. John should be so thrilled. He’s looking down. He’d be so thrilled,” Trump said. “’Thank you so much, sir.’ I said, ‘That’s OK, don’t worry about it.’ Maybe he’s looking up. I don’t know.”
His comments sparked outrage from members on both sides of the aisle, with Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) calling on Trump to apologise for his remarks, reports thehill.com.
“I’ve always looked up to John Dingell — my good friend and a great Michigan legend. There was no need to ‘dis’ him in a crass political way. Most unfortunate and an apology is due,” Upton tweeted following the rally.
Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) said Trump should refrain from casting judgment on his critics and praised Dingell’s character, noting that while they may have conflicting views at times, she doesn’t believe it’s appropriate to attempt to smear a deceased member’s legacy.
“I think it’s really sad. It’s a really, really terrible thing to say. It’s Christmas, to make jokes about where people are spending eternity — you must be really sure about where you’re spending your eternity, right? It’s terrible,” she told The Hill on Thursday.
“Debbie and I don’t agree on everything, but she’s an awesome lady and she doesn’t deserve to have her husband’s legacy turned into a political talking point, a political joke. It’s terrible.”
Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) said he hopes Trump takes the criticisms of his comments and uses it as an opportunity to reevaluate his discourse.
“I was with Debbie, after the vote last night and she was obviously quite upset and, you know, I can, I can personally attest, in my humble opinion, knowing John Dingell and knowing Debbie Dingell, and they’re honorable men and women,” he told The Hill.
“He’s resting well in heaven. And, you know, it’s something I’m disappointed in, that type of commentary and, hopefully, the president and others will learn from it that this rhetoric has to come to an end.”
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) said he isn’t in favour of the language used, adding that the stress of impeachment could have been a factor in the president’s remarks.
Debbie Dingell told reporters Thursday morning that the outpouring of support has come from friends on both sides of the aisle.
Here again is her tweet responding to Trump’s attack on Wednesday night:
Mr. President, let’s set politics aside. 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.
— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) December 19, 2019