Congressman John Dingell (D-MI)—the longest serving Congressman in American History—passed away on Thursday after representing Michigan for nearly 60 years.
President Donald Trump tweeted condolences to his wife and family:
Deepest sympathies to Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and the entire family of John Dingell. Longest serving Congressm… https://t.co/wbvzKXJCR7— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1549656786.0
Hardly an hour after Trump's tweet, the Washington Post published an op-ed of Dingell's last words to America, dictated by his wife, Congresswoman Deborah Dingell. The op-ed was written the day he died, and—while commending the progress America has made and acknowledging the work the country has left to do—included an unflinching rebuke to the President.
"In our modern political age, the presidential bully pulpit seems dedicated to sowing division and denigrating, often in the most irrelevant and infantile personal terms, the political opposition. And much as I have found Twitter to be a useful means of expression, some occasions merit more than 280 characters."
He continued to warn against political rhetoric in the era of Trump, writing that he emerged onto the political scene in a "kinder, if not necessarily gentler" era. "We observed modicums of respect even as we fought, often bitterly and savagely, over issues that were literally life and death," he continued.
Many noticed the man for whom his words were intended.
@realDonaldTrump How frightened for all of us he must have been to direct his final words towards you. “the presid… https://t.co/xpDLy6tqHc— cumberickman / Impeach Indict Imprison (@cumberickman / Impeach Indict Imprison)1549661146.0
@JakeSherman @realDonaldTrump should read this and learn from it— Wayne King (@Wayne King)1549665628.0
I'd rather live in John Dingell's America than Donald Trump's America. https://t.co/2sbCALknzR— Pejman Yousefzadeh پژمان یوسف زاده (@Pejman Yousefzadeh پژمان یوسف زاده)1549662860.0
@realDonaldTrump would be wise to understand this. In a democratic government, elected officials do not have power.… https://t.co/43PlyCTKen— Manolete John Garcia (@Manolete John Garcia)1549664379.0
@realDonaldTrump you need to read this. https://t.co/Gxth8pEERy— Tom Ramberg (@Tom Ramberg)1549661552.0
@realDonaldTrump @GOP could learn a thing from this wise man! https://t.co/bOGpZcAcgy— Marty Varga (@Marty Varga)1549665294.0
Leaders from across America began outpouring with condolences and memories of the longtime leader.
They were from both sides of the aisle.
My statement on the passing of former Congressman John Dingell: https://t.co/gjBYHHImzB— Barack Obama (@Barack Obama)1549598654.0
Former President George W. Bush on passing of fmr. Rep. John Dingell: "I was fortunate to speak to John Dingell thi… https://t.co/cdGpNKn4zg— MSNBC (@MSNBC)1549598988.0
America has lost a beloved pillar of the Congress & one of the greatest legislators in our history. @JohnDingell’s… https://t.co/Wh9SEexozf— Nancy Pelosi (@Nancy Pelosi)1549594740.0
For nearly 60 years, John Dingell represented the people of Michigan with honor, integrity & great good humor. Ther… https://t.co/ofaeEGIbEN— Bill Clinton (@Bill Clinton)1549594921.0
My statement on the passing of John Dingell https://t.co/PHQF3g0yrf— Leader McConnell (@Leader McConnell)1549631188.0
After recounting the horrors Americans had to contend with in the 20th century—legal racial discrimination, no safety net for the elderly, no environmental safety measures—Dingell expressed hope in the nation's future, writing:
"As I prepare to leave this all behind, I now leave you in control of the greatest nation of mankind and pray God gives you the wisdom to understand the responsibility you hold in your hands. May God bless you all, and may God bless America."
The words inspired Americans across the country.
@JakeSherman Tears here, as I think of him crafting these eloquent words in his last moments.— Melodie Woerman (@Melodie Woerman)1549660542.0
@JakeSherman @Agenthades1 God Bless this true patriot.— Melissa Jo Peltier (@Melissa Jo Peltier)1549665233.0
@JakeSherman @Susan_Hennessey Stunning just stunning and elegant.— Barb F (@Barb F)1549664884.0
@JakeSherman Everybody needs to read this, his final gift to the country he loved and served.— My Elf name is Happy Pointy-Ears (@My Elf name is Happy Pointy-Ears)1549663761.0
Now, it's up to Americans to heed his warning.