During an interview on Sunday, Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell shared a violent and threatening voice message that was recently sent to her office, stating that she’s been the focus of a « Trump hate tunnel » for years.
Dingell was speaking during a joint interview on CNN’s State of the Union with Republican Representative Fred Upton. The politically opposite lawmakers, both from Michigan, came together to share stories and discuss a contentious year in U.S. politics.
Host Dana Bash played an audio clip of a hateful voice message sent to Dingell, in which a male caller repeatedly attacks her with vulgar and violent language.
« You goddamn old senile b*tch. You’re as old and ugly as Biden. You ought to get the f**k off the planet. You f**king foul b*tch. They ought to f**king try you for treason, b*tch, » the caller begins. « I hope your family dies in front of you. I pray to God if you’ve got any children, they die in your face, » he adds.
Dingell said she’s received consistent threats since she became the subject of attack by former President Donald Trump in 2019, shortly after the death of her husband Representative John Dingell. During that time, Trump began targeting Dingell for her role in voting to impeach him.
At one point, Trump implied to a crowd of supporters that her late husband—who served as a Michigan lawmaker for 59 years—was « looking up from hell. »
« John was my late husband and it, you know, once you’re in that Trump hate tunnel, you kind of don’t escape it, » Dingell said on Sunday. « There are a lot of good people out there that are really wonderful to meet, et cetera, but we average several of those a week. »
« My friends look at me and say, ‘How can you do this?’ We’ve got to be careful not to normalize it, but I’m not going to not do my job. I’m not going to go out and not be with people. I’m not going to go out and not listen to them. I want the American people to think about what’s happening in our country. That this kind of hate, this fear, is happening in communities across the country, » she added.
Also during the interview, Upton said he believes 2021 has generally seen a « toxic » environment in Washington and around the U.S. Earlier this year, the Republican lawmaker shared a threatening voicemail that he received after voting to impeach Trump, in which a caller told him: « I hope you die. I hope everybody in your f**king family dies, » while adding that he’s a « f**king piece of sh*t traitor, » according to CNN.
« It’s pretty toxic, there’s no question about it, » Upton stated. « It’s a pretty toxic place. I’ve never seen anything like this before. »
The Michigan lawmakers emphasized the need for politicians and voters on both sides of the aisle to come together and show one another kindness.
« What we need to do is to, all of us, get back to just remembering how much we have in common, just respecting each other, treating each other with dignity, » Dingell said. « And I say to everybody, a little act of kindness towards anybody can make the difference in that person’s day, week, or life. »