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Two lawmakers say bipartisan friendship model for overcoming ‘toxic’ year in Washington

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Two lawmakers say bipartisan friendship model for overcoming ‘toxic’ year in Washington

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Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell and Republican Rep. Fred Upton sat down for a joint CNN ‘State of the Union’ interview to reflect on a tumultuous year in Washington and call on Americans to, as put Dingell, “Going 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 it before.”

During the interview, Dingell reacted to a threatening voicemail message sent to his office. In the post, calling her insulting her repeatedly, calling her a “f ** king dirty bitch” and adding, “I pray to God, if you have kids they die in your face.”

Earlier this year, Upton himself shared a threatening voicemail message he received in which the caller told him, “I hope you die. I hope everyone in your f ** king family dies, “while calling him a” f ** king piece of sh * t traitor. “
Dingell stated that she had received “several of these [messages] per week “for several years. She says the influx of threatening messages began after former President Donald Trump attacked her and her late husband, Representative John Dingell, in December 2019, months after her death Dingell said she wanted to spread the message to reflect the level of animosity in current political culture.

“I want the American people to think about what’s going on in our country, that this kind of hate, this fear is happening in communities across the country,” Dingell said.

Upton, who was one of the few Republicans to vote to impeach Trump after the Jan.6 uprising, reflected on the attack, which he called “real and shocking,” and its consequences.

“I was in my office, but I have a balcony and I watched people walk down the mall and I saw them coming back, and I heard the noise and obviously I watched what happened. But it was real and shocking, “Upton said.

When asked if he was surprised that Republicans downplayed the attack over the following months, Upton recalled a reported phone conversation between Trump and Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy that occurred in the middle of the attack.

“I mean, it was a scary day,” Upton continued.

The two lawmakers highlighted their friendship as a model of bipartisan unity in Washington. Dingell said she and Upton regularly disagreed over the legislation, but Upton was quick to note that their friendship took priority.

“I can have very strong disagreements even with Fred over certain policies -” Dingell began to say.

Upton, cutting her off, clarified, “But I’ll always make her laugh in the end.”

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