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 Congressman in Country’s history which, if people understand politics, means he was very smart. A great reputation and highly respected man.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2019
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.
How frightened for all of us he must have been to direct his final words towards you.
“the presidential bully pulpit seems dedicated to sowing division and denigrating, often in the most irrelevant and infantile personal terms, the political opposition”https://t.co/MVb499Y5nF
— cumberickman (@cumberickman) February 8, 2019
I'd rather live in John Dingell's America than Donald Trump's America. https://t.co/2sbCALknzR
— Pejman Yousefzadeh پژمان یوسف زاده (@Yousefzadeh) February 8, 2019
@realDonaldTrump would be wise to understand this. In a democratic government, elected officials do not have power. They hold power — in trust for the people who elected them. If they misuse or abuse that public trust, it is quite properly revoked. https://t.co/A6HjkcoaUY
— Manolete John Garcia (@MJGarciaKCMO) February 8, 2019
— Tom Ramberg (@tom_ramberg) February 8, 2019
— Marty Varga (@MOMV719) February 8, 2019
Leaders from across America began outpouring with condolences and memories of the longtime leader.