Two Michigan lawmakers from opposite sides of the aisle came together to urge the importance of unity and kindness after a “toxic” year in Washington and across the country. Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell and Republican Rep. Fred Upton sat down for a joint interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” to reflect on a tumultuous year in Washington and to call on Americans to, as Dingell says, “get back to just remembering how much we have in common.”
“It’s pretty toxic, there’s no question about it,” Upton said of the climate in Washington. “It’s a pretty toxic place. I’ve never seen anything like this before.” During the interview, Dingell reacted to a threatening voicemail message sent to her office. In the message, the caller insults her repeatedly, naming her a “f**king foul b*tch” and adding, “I pray to God, if you’ve got any children, they die in your face.”Earlier this year, Upton himself shared a threatening voicemail he received in which the caller told him, “I hope you die. I hope everybody in your f**king family dies,” while labeling him a “f**king piece of sh*t traitor.”
Dingell said she’s received “several of those [messages] a week” for multiple years. She says the influx of threatening messages started after former President Donald Trump attacked her and her late husband Rep. John Dingell in December 2019, months after he passed away. Dingell said she wanted to play the message to reflect the level of animosity in the current political culture.