During the bizarre and surreal Trump rally last night in Battle Creek, Michigan, the president predictably said a number of heinously offensive things and lashed out at his political enemies. But it was the insinuation that the late Democratic Representative John Dingell was in hell and “looking up” at his wife, Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell, that drew the most outrage from the media and political establishment alike.
Michiganders do a brief double-take when Trump jokes that veteran Rep. John Dingell may have gone to hell when he died. pic.twitter.com/Bv503szBLJ
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 19, 2019
When White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham was challenged on the matter on ABC’s Good Morning America, she waved off the appalling remark and said the president was “just riffing” with a “very, very supportive and wild crowd.”
How she managed to say this with a straight face is beyond anyone. “Riffing” is a behavior expected from comedians and snarky teenagers with their buddies, not from the President of the United States who is currently being impeached for serious and flagrant abuses of his power.
Multiple Republican politicians, including Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Paul Mitchell (R-MI) have demanded an apology from the president over his remarks. Dingell’s widow took to Twitter last night to share just how hurt she was by the President’s words as she prepares to spend her first Christmas without her husband.
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
Only a complete sociopath like Donald Trump and his hooting and baying fans could think his display of shameful, spiteful display of petty cruelty was amusing or appropriate, and to hear the White House’s press secretary dismiss his words like they were just a joke from a rambunctious teen hopped up on energy drinks is a sad and sharp reminder of how far we’ve fallen — and how badly we need to follow through with impeachment and drive him from office forever.