Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublican group targets Graham in ad calling for fair Senate trial Trump attacks Schumer at fiery rally in Michigan Schumer, Pelosi to meet as Democrats debate tactics MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublican group targets Graham in ad calling for fair Senate trial Democratic presidential candidates react to Trump impeachment: ‘No one is above the law’ Trump attacks Schumer at fiery rally in Michigan MORE‘s quip the night before at a rally suggesting that the late Democratic Rep. John DingellJohn DingellTrump goes after late Rep. John Dingell: ‘Maybe he’s looking up’ instead of down Annual ‘Dingell Jingle’ brings impeachment to the holidays Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: ‘Really pathetic!’ MORE was “looking up,” presumably from hell, calling it “cruel” and “sad.”
When a reporter asked Pelosi at her weekly press conference about the attack on Dingell, the Speaker paused and closed her eyes for a few seconds before answering: “Let us pray. Let us pray for the president.”
“What the president misunderstands is that cruelty is not wit. Just because he gets a laugh for saying the cruel things that he says doesn’t mean he’s funny. It’s not funny at all. It’s very sad,” Pelosi said.
Trump made the comments at a rally in Michigan around the same time Wednesday night that the House was voting to impeach him. He had been talking about how Rep. Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellTrump attacks Schumer at fiery rally in MichiganTrump goes after late Rep. John Dingell: ‘Maybe he’s looking up’ instead of down A solemn impeachment day on Capitol Hill MORE (D-Mich.), John Dingell’s wife who has represented his old seat since 2014, was backing impeachment.
John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, died in February at the age of 92. Trump noted that he had ordered flags to be lowered after Dingell’s death.
“She 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. Thank you so much, sir.’ I said, ‘That’s OK, don’t worry about it,'” Trump said, describing a conversation with Debbie Dingell.
“Maybe he’s looking up, I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe,” Trump said, drawing some groans from the crowd. “But let’s assume he’s looking down.”
Pelosi compared the dig against Dingell to Trump’s attacks on the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainFormer Republicans create group to defend Amash Whoopi Goldberg on fight with Meghan McCain: ‘Sometimes it goes off the rails’ George Conway, other conservatives launch effort to block Trump’s reelection MORE (R-Ariz.).
“The president clearly is insecure when it comes to statespersons, whether it was John McCain — think of what he said about John McCain and his supporters just overlooked that. John McCain. Now John Dingell,” Pelosi said.
Debbie Dingell responded to Trump in a tweet late Wednesday night, saying that the comments were “hurtful.”
“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,” Dingell tweeted.
Other Democrats — many of whom served with the late Dingell until his retirement in 2014 — also expressed outrage over Trump’s comments.
Michigan Democratic Rep. Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeOvernight Energy: Dems unveil first bill toward goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 | Oversight panel asks EPA for plans on ‘forever chemicals’ | EPA finalizes rule easing chemical plant safety regulations Oversight Democrats ask EPA to turn over plans for regulating toxic ‘forever chemicals’ Mark Ruffalo’s environmental drama ‘Dark Waters’ gets DC premiere MORE, who noted as he emerged from a Democratic whips’ meeting Thursday morning that he “grew up knowing John since I was a kid,” called Trump’s comments “despicable” and a sign of a “missing heart.”
Some Michigan Republicans also called on Trump to apologize.
“John Dingell was a well-respected man & I consider Debbie a close colleague and friend. To use his name in such a dishonorable manner at last night’s rally is unacceptable from anyone, let alone the President of the United States,” retiring Rep. Paul MitchellPaul MitchellRepublican group asks ‘what is Trump hiding’ in Times Square billboard Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: ‘What is Trump hiding?’ Ed Markey, John Rutherford among victors at charity pumpkin-carving contest MORE (R-Mich.) tweeted. “An apology is due, Mr. President.”
Another GOP lawmaker, Michigan Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonConservative group hits White House with billboard ads: ‘What is Trump hiding?’ Shimkus says he’s reconsidering retirement Shimkus says he’s been asked to reconsider retirement MORE, also pushed back.
“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,” Upton tweeted.