Rob Tibbetts went out of his way to thank the Latino community for supporting their family and helping to search for his daughter Mollie Tibbets when she went missing. It was a clear rebuke to President Trump and right-wing racists who have attempted to capitalize on the murder of Mollie Tibbets and use it as fodder to fuel the “immigrants are criminals” argument.
Other members of Mollie’s family have criticized those who are using her tragic murder as “political fodder” by demonizing the immigrant community. There’s been a tragic spectacle surrounding her death ever since it was revealed that she was murdered by Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, an undocumented immigrant. Mollie went missing July 18, and set off an intense manhunt that garnered national attention. Rivera eventually lead police to her body, which he had hidden in a farm field. The White House jumped on the tragedy immediately, releasing a video one day after her body was found showing people in the U.S. whose loved ones had been killed by undocumented immigrants and posting an inflammatory tweet clearly aimed at those protesting the horrible policy of family separation embraced by the current administration:
For 34 days, investigators searched for 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts. Yesterday, an illegal alien, now charged with first-degree murder, led police to the cornfield where her body was found.
The Tibbetts family has been permanently separated. They are not alone. pic.twitter.com/BBskwHEJoU
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 22, 2018
But Rob Tibbetts wasn’t having any of it. During the eulogy he somehow managed to keep his sense of humor and gratitude throughout his horrific ordeal, “The Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food.”
One of Mollie’s cousins also stood up to those trying to politicize her death:
In order to truly honor Mollie, we should do what her father and brothers have pleaded for. Celebrate her life as “something wonderful.”
In the end, Mollie’s death is less about illegal immigration and more about the pervasive violence against women that gets swept under the rug every day in our country. But I doubt we will ever see the White House tweet about that.