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Debbie Dingell on Trump's insulting her late husband: 'There are lines you don't cross'

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Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Dec. 18, 2019. Copyright Susan Walsh AP
Copyright Susan Walsh AP
By Adam Edelman with NBC News Politics
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Dingell said that Trump's remark "sort of kicked me in the stomach."


Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., on Sunday said President Donald Trump crossed a line when he suggested last week that her late husband, longtime Rep. John Dingell, was "looking up" from hell, but that she is not looking for an apology.

"I think there are lines you don't cross, and I think he crossed a line there," Dingell told "Fox News Sunday." "I don't want an apology, I don't want a campaign to begin around that."

"What I do want is for people to take a deep breath and think going forward that their words have consequences, that they can hurt, and how do we bring more civility back to our political environment," she said.

Dingell added that Trump's comments about her late husband "sort of kicked me in the stomach."

At a rally in Michigan on Wednesday night — the same night Trump was impeached by the House — Trump implied that Dingell's support for impeachment contradicted her gratitude to the president for supporting her late husband's memorial services.

"Debbie Dingell, that's a real beauty," Trump told the crowd, noting that he'd ordered flags lowered after her husband died. John Dingell had been the longest-serving member of Congress, representing Michigan for 59 years. Trump said he gave the late lawmaker an "A-plus" memorial.

"I gave him everything. I don't want anything. I don't need anything for anything," Trump said. "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.'"

"Maybe he's looking up, I don't know. I don't know. Maybe," Trump said to loud laughs and groans. "But let's assume he's looking down."

The remarks prompted an outcry from members of both parties.

Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top Trump ally, called for the president to say he's sorry.

"I think he should apologize," Graham told reporters Thursday.

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