By Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
30th Congressional District of Texas in the US House of Representatives
The late Michigan Congressman John Dingell was one of the finest public servants to have ever served in the United States House of Representatives. And for the president of the United States to belittle his memory is illustrative of a gross lack of decency and character that cannot be tolerated. In a speech, immediately after he became only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, Mr. Trump said that Congressman Dingell, the longest-serving member in the history of the House of Representatives, was watching events in the nation from hell.
The hideous comment stabbed at the very core of decent people wherever they are found. My congressional colleague, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who now represents the district that her husband once did, was more than personally devastated… She said that the remark hurt her deeply, as it would anyone who loved their spouse, and who had witnessed them selflessly serve our nation for more than half a century. While Mr. Trump was building a hotel and entertainment business, the late Congress Dingell was helping to build and sustain a great nation.
Respected by members of both major political parties, Congressman Dingell’s positive imprint on our nation’s fabric is unquestionable. The inappropriate remark by Mr. Trump and unkind comments he made regarding Congresswoman Dingell brought to mind what he once said about the late Senator John McCain, whose status as a war hero the president questioned. Those that worked with Senator McCain and large numbers of citizens who knew his history as a prisoner of war were shocked and angered.
We did not expect words of that nature to come from the mouth of a resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a substantial departure from normalcy. To their credit, Republican members of Congress from Michigan have asked President Trump to apologize to Congresswoman Dingell for the comments he made about her husband. I also call on him to apologize. This is not the first time that President Trump has used offensive language while referring to others.
If he does not understand the harmfulness of his ugly rhetoric surely responsible members of his party do. They must understand that his comments are damaging to the soul of our nation and to the office of the presidency. Shame and pity on those who do not understand, and who do not demand that the president stop!