Donald Trump was condemned for joking that a widowed rival’s recently-deceased husband was now burning in hell.
The president attacked Representative Debbie Dingell’s late husband John at a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, on Wednesday night as Dingell and others voted to impeach him.
Dingell was snapped walking into the vote in Washington DC holding hands with Trump’s arch rival, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Trump told how Dingell had called him up to thank him for ‘the A+ treatment’ after her representative husband’s death in February at the age of 92, which included flying US flags at half-mast.
The president then recalled his conversation with Dingell, saying: ‘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.’
Trump’s bad-taste gag elicited a groan from his supporters – with Dingell since hitting out at Trump for attacking her when she is ‘still hurting.’
The Michigan Democrat told CNN: ‘You know, I think it’s time to put politics aside on these kind of shots.
‘I try to be respectful of everybody.
‘I’ve never taken a personal shot at this president. I think his family is off limits.’
John Dingell died of prostate dancer after enjoying a 59 career in the House of Representatives – making him the longest-serving member of the US Congress ever.
Trump besmirched the late politician’s memory as the House of Representatives officially began impeachment proceedings against him.
He is now the third US president to face such proceedings, over claims he abused his office and then tried to obstruct a Congressional investigation into that abuse.
Trump is set to face a trial in the US Senate next month, which could see him ousted from office.
But that is considered unlikely, with the Senate’s Republican majority giving no indication that they will vote to oust Trump and replace him with Vice President Mike Pence.