Late congressman says people need to ‘learn to understand people and judge less, and love more and let’s have less hatred’
The interview was aired after the death of Rep Paul Mitchell, aged 64, on 22 August from renal cancer. It was carried out by Jake Tapper, and Mr Mitchell wished for it to be broadcast after his death. The former lawmaker spoke from hospice after his cancer, diagnosed in June, became terminal.
In December 2020, Mr Mitchell resigned from the Republican Party in reaction to Mr Trump spreading unverified claims that the election in 2020 was rife with voter fraud. Mr Mitchell said in 2019 that he would not seek re-election to the House of Representatives because he wanted to spend more time with family. He leaves behind his wife and six children.
In the interview, Mr Mitchell said that the US would benefit from more bipartisanship and that disagreeing with someone did not make them a bad person.
“I’d like to talk with President Biden and some of the people I know in the administration about, we need real bipartisanship,” he told Mr Tapper. “Our country, our society, is struggling.”
He continued,“It’s struggling because people can’t accept that they believe in different things, and look for what they agree on and decide whether someone’s a good person or not. And that’s too bad.”
Mr Mitchell emphasised the importance of trying to “learn to understand people and judge less, and love more and let’s have less hatred”.
“You see what’s going on, where it’s, ‘let’s rev up the base, those people are evil.’ It’s destructive and honestly people, just take the time to care about the other person, when you care about them, it’s hard to hate them,” he told Mr Tapper.
Mr Mitchell also extolled the “value” of being friends with people from various political perspectives.
“There’s value in people you don’t agree with. It’s easy to find people you agree with, there’s value in people that we may disagree with on something strongly, but that doesn’t inherently make them a bad person,” Mr Mitchell said. “I’ve got good friends on the Democratic side. What we agree on is maybe 10 or 15 percent, but I think the world of them.”
He concluded by explaining to Mr Tapper that he left Congress because “it became that I couldn’t uphold my responsibilities as a dad” to the young son his family adopted from Russia four years ago.
Mr Mitchell’s death was announced by his wife Sherry to CNN via a statement.
“I am immensely proud of him and never more so then when he was the lone voice in a sea of politicians who cared more about power than the true definition of the office,” she wrote.