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Dingell's farewell message to America includes dig at Trump

Published
FILE- In a Feb. 4, 2009 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. poses for a photograph inside his office in House Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — On the day of his death, longtime Rep. John Dingell dictated a farewell message to America and used some of his final words to criticize President Donald Trump.

Dingell dictated the message to his wife and congressional successor Debbie Dingell Thursday in their suburban Detroit home. The Washington Post published the opinion piece on Friday.

"One of the advantages to knowing that your demise is imminent, and that reports of it will not be greatly exaggerated, is that you have a few moments to compose some parting thoughts," Dingell said Thursday. "In our modern political age, the presidential bully pulpit seems dedicated to sowing division and denigrating, often in the most irrelevant and infantile personal terms, the political opposition."

Dingell, who died Thursday at age 92, didn't mention Trump by name in the article.

Dingell represented parts of southeast Michigan for nearly 60 years before retiring in 2014 as the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history.

On Friday, Trump ordered flags at the White House and other federal facilities lowered to half-staff in Dingell's memory. The president also used Twitter to extend sympathies to Debbie Dingell and other family members.

"Longest serving Congressman in country's history which, if people understand politics, means he was very smart," Trump tweeted. "A great reputation and highly respected man."

Dingell's opinion article was similar to a letter penned by former Arizona Sen. John McCain before his death in August from brain cancer.

In McCain's letter, the late Arizona Republican appeared to repudiate Trump's politics one last time, saying, "We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe."

Much of Dingell's letter to the Post focused on the country and improvements made over the decades to Medicare, the environment, the Great Lakes and efforts to end racial discrimination.

"All of these challenges were addressed by Congress," Dingell said. "Maybe not as fast as we wanted, or as perfectly as hoped. The work is certainly not finished. But we've made progress — and in every case, from the passage of Medicare through the passage of civil rights, we did it with the support of Democrats and Republicans who considered themselves first and foremost to be Americans."

He concluded by saying "as I prepare to leave this all behind, I now leave you in control of the greatest nation of mankind and pray God gives you the wisdom to understand the responsibility you hold in your hands. May God bless you all, and may God bless America."

Trump's proclamation applies to flags at the White House, other public buildings and grounds, U.S. military posts and naval stations, and on all federal naval vessels. They'll be lowered until sunset Saturday.

Flags at U.S. embassies and other facilities overseas also are ordered to half-staff. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also ordered flags on state property lowered.

A public visitation will be held Monday at Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn. A funeral will be held at a local church Tuesday.

Following those services, a casket carrying Dingell's body will be driven past the Capitol in Washington. The public is invited to watch from the east lawn of the Capitol.

A second funeral Mass will be held Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington. The public is invited.

Dingell will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery, said his wife Debbie Dingell, who succeeded him in the Michigan congressional seat.

Tributes poured in following Dingell's death, including from former U.S. presidents, colleagues and some of his more than 250,000 Twitter followers.

___

See AP's complete coverage of John Dingell here: https://apnews.com/JohnDingell

FILE- In this Sept. 24, 2008 file photo, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., right, accompanied by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.(AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
FILE - In a June 12, 1979 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., comments on President Jimmy Carter during an interview in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/John Duricka, File)
FILE - In this June 2, 1977 file photo, President Jimmy Carter hosts a breakfast in the Family Dining Room of the White House in Washington for House Subcommittee members on Energy and Power. From left are Rep. John M. Murphy (D-N.Y.), Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), President Carter, Rep. Harley Staggers (D-W Va.), Rep. Andrew Maguire (D-N.J.), and Rep. Timothy Wirth (D-Colo.). Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Charles Harrity, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., addresses supporters during the Michigan Democratic election night party at the MGM Grand Detroit. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
FILE - In this May 7, 2014 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
FILE - In this April 21, 2015 file photo, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell pushes the wheelchair of her husband, retired Congressman John Dingell after the funeral of Detroit-area businessman and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, Mich. Former U.S. Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP, File)
FILE - In this July 29, 2015 file photo, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., standing with former Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., holds up the gavel Dingell used 50 years ago when Medicare legislation was passed during an event marking the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE- In this April 7, 1987 file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., left, and John Dingell, D-Mich. hold a news conference at Capitol Hill, in Washington, to release a report on Alzheimers disease. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2013 file photo, House Democrats, including Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., center, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, make their way to the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi before a vote in Congress, at the Capitol in Washington. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. He was 92. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE - In this July 29, 2015 file photo, former Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., speaks at an event marking the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid on Capitol Hill in Washington. Former Michigan Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, has died. He was 92. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell says her husband died at his Dearborn home on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - In this July 29, 2015 file photo, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., standing with former Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., holds up the gavel Dingell used 50 years ago when Medicare legislation was passed during an event marking the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - In this July 29, 2015 file photo, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., standing with former Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., holds up the gavel Dingell used 50 years ago when Medicare legislation was passed during an event marking the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - In this April 21, 2015 file photo, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell pushes the wheelchair of her husband, retired Congressman John Dingell after the funeral of Detroit-area businessman and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, Mich. Former U.S. Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP, File)
FILE - In this April 21, 2015 file photo, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell pushes the wheelchair of her husband, retired Congressman John Dingell after the funeral of Detroit-area businessman and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, Mich. Former U.S. Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (Todd McInturf/Detroit News via AP, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2013 file photo, House Democrats, including Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., center, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, make their way to the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi before a vote in Congress, at the Capitol in Washington. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. He was 92. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2013 file photo, House Democrats, including Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., center, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, make their way to the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi before a vote in Congress, at the Capitol in Washington. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. He was 92. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE- In this Sept. 24, 2008 file photo, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., right, accompanied by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.(AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
FILE- In this Sept. 24, 2008 file photo, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., right, accompanied by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.(AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
FILE- In a Feb. 4, 2009 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. poses for a photograph inside his office in House Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
FILE- In a Feb. 4, 2009 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. poses for a photograph inside his office in House Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
FILE - In this June 2, 1977 file photo, President Jimmy Carter hosts a breakfast in the Family Dining Room of the White House in Washington for House Subcommittee members on Energy and Power. From left are Rep. John M. Murphy (D-N.Y.), Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), President Carter, Rep. Harley Staggers (D-W Va.), Rep. Andrew Maguire (D-N.J.), and Rep. Timothy Wirth (D-Colo.). Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Charles Harrity, File)
FILE - In this June 2, 1977 file photo, President Jimmy Carter hosts a breakfast in the Family Dining Room of the White House in Washington for House Subcommittee members on Energy and Power. From left are Rep. John M. Murphy (D-N.Y.), Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), President Carter, Rep. Harley Staggers (D-W Va.), Rep. Andrew Maguire (D-N.J.), and Rep. Timothy Wirth (D-Colo.). Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Charles Harrity, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., addresses supporters during the Michigan Democratic election night party at the MGM Grand Detroit. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., addresses supporters during the Michigan Democratic election night party at the MGM Grand Detroit. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
FILE- In this April 7, 1987 file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., left, and John Dingell, D-Mich. hold a news conference at Capitol Hill, in Washington, to release a report on Alzheimers disease. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi, File)
FILE- In this April 7, 1987 file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., left, and John Dingell, D-Mich. hold a news conference at Capitol Hill, in Washington, to release a report on Alzheimers disease. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi, File)
FILE - In this May 7, 2014 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
FILE - In this May 7, 2014 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
FILE - In a June 12, 1979 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., comments on President Jimmy Carter during an interview in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/John Duricka, File)
FILE - In a June 12, 1979 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., comments on President Jimmy Carter during an interview in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, has died at age 92. Dingell, who served in the U.S. House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. (AP Photo/John Duricka, File)
FILE - In this July 29, 2015 file photo, former Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., speaks at an event marking the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid on Capitol Hill in Washington. Former Michigan Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, has died. He was 92. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell says her husband died at his Dearborn home on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE - In this July 29, 2015 file photo, former Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., speaks at an event marking the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid on Capitol Hill in Washington. Former Michigan Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, has died. He was 92. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell says her husband died at his Dearborn home on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)