President Donald Trump joked that former longtime member of Congress John Dingell, who died in February, might be in hell during a rally in Dingell's home state of Michigan on Wednesday.
The president, who was impeached by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, has been angry with Democrat Rep. Debbie Dingell, the late lawmaker's wife and successor to the seat he held for 59 years. Along with her Democratic colleagues, she has been critical of the president and voted to impeach Trump.
Earlier this week, Trump called her "pathetic."
But at a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, during the House vote on Wednesday night, Trump went further than his previous attacks on her to joke about her husband. The joke was met with laughs as well as sounds of surprise and some disapproval from the crowd.
Trump began by bragging about how well he had treated the Dingells in February by ordering flags lowered and granting other funeral honors. He described the thankful phone call he received in response from Debbie Dingell at that time.
"'John would be so thrilled. He's looking down, he'd be so thrilled. Thank you so much, sir,'" Trump said of her comments. "I said, 'That's OK, don't worry about it. Maybe he's looking up, I don't know.'"
That went too far, his wife responded in a tweet.
"My husband earned all his accolades after a lifetime of service," she said. "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."
John Dingell was the longest-serving member of Congress in history. The Michigan Democrat retired in 2015, but continued to be known for his humor and masterful use of Twitter — often to critique Trump.
He died at age 92.