Mitchel, who left the GOP last December citing president Trump‘s rejection of the 2020 election results, died just over two months after he revealed he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 renal cancer, at age 64.
In the interview with CNN recorded while he was in a hospice, and screened after Mitchell’s death at the former representative’s request, he said American’s inability to be civil to people they disagree with was threatening to tear the country apart.
‘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,’
‘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,’ Mitchell told host Jake Tapper, whose voice trembled with emotion as he interviewed his friend.
After being asked about his perspective on life now that death seemed inevitable , Mitchell said he would miss his family the most and that he wanted to speak to President Biden, because the the country needed ‘real bipartisanship.’
‘I think you have to choose whether or not to love people or otherwise you go through life trying to get political gain some of it by creating hatred.
‘You see what’s going on, where it’s, “Let’s rev up the base, those people are evil.”‘, he said, in a nod to the divisive tactics used by both left and right-wing politicos, to the fury of more centrist American voters.
‘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 added.
‘I think you have to choose whether or not to love people or otherwise you go through life trying to get political gain some of it by creating hatred,’ said late Rep Paul Mitchell in a posthumously aired interview
Mitchell was filmed talking to CNN host Jake Tapper, who at times appeared to be on the verge of tears while interviewing his terminally-ill friend
Mitchell was diagnosed with Stage 4 renal cancer just over two months ago
Fmr. GOP Rep. Paul Mitchell, who died earlier this month after a battle with cancer, asked for this interview to be run after he passed. He expressed his wish for “real bipartisanship” within the country. “I think you have to choose whether or not to love people.” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/7mXNYCELib
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) August 22, 2021
In the interview, Mitchell showed stoicism as he pleaded for people not to spread hate, regardless of their political affiliations and ideologies.
He was very clear in that he didn’t believe in abortion or capital punishment and addressed the national division when it came to COVID-19 vaccination.
‘It’s “I won’t talk to you”, and it’s breaking up families.
‘Our country, our society is struggling, and 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,’
Although initially believed to be under control, Mitchell’s cancer spread through his body quickly.
‘At that point in time I think you just have to recognize reality.’
‘We finished and checked me into a hospice yesterday,’ he said.
Mitchell’s wife, Sherry Mitchell, announced on August 16 he had passed away and the interview was aired on Sunday, August 22.
December last year, Mitchell left the GOP and became an Independent, saying that he refused to support Trump’s attempts to call the election on his favor.
‘You need to keep a sense of humor about some things,’ Mitchell tweeted shortly before his death. The late congressman told his wife that it was possible for him to fie with honor and peace
His wife, Sherry, announced the congressman had passed away on August 16, and the interview was aired on Sunday, August 22
In the interview, Mitchell called for ‘real bipartisanship,’ and for people to truly listen to others with disagreeing arguments
Mitchell retired in 2019, and left the GOP in 2020 citing frustration with the GOP rhetoric and support of Trump’s rejection to the election results
Mitchell reiterated that it was important to him that his six children, especially his youngest son who he adopted with his wife from Russia, knew that he did his best both to conduct himself with honor both in congress and in his journey with cancer.
‘When it became clear that I couldn’t uphold my responsibilities as a dad…in Congress, I announced my retiring.’
He said in July 2019 that he was not going to be running to represent Michigan’s tenth district in Congress, because of health issues and frustration with the GOP.
Mitchell completely disaffiliated from the party in December 2020.
Weeks before the Capitol riot on January 6, Mitchell had called out Trump and GOP allies for sowing doubt in the election results.
‘It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote,’
‘Further, it is unacceptable for the president to attack the Supreme Court of the United States because its judges, both liberal and conservative, did not rule with his side or that ‘the Court failed him,’ he said in the statement.
Mitchell had denounced Trump before, asking him to change his rhetoric when the then president told four minority congresswomen to ‘go back to their countries.’
Although his battle with cancer was short, Mitchell said in the interview that he reminded his wife and his kids that he did everything on his power to fight the illness.
‘I want them [his family] to understand you can die with honor, you can die with peace,’ he said.
‘Paul was an American. He was the embodiment of what we can be if we choose to love and fight for what matters,’ his wife wrote in a statement.