Donald Trump was planning to use Mollie Tibbetts as a poster child for building “The Wall”, but Mollie’s family wants no part of it. Hats off to them!
Mollie Tibbetts was a Psychology student at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She was a cross-country runner, and a state-level competitive public speaker; she was active at church and was spending her college summer vacation working at a day camp helping children with literacy and crafts.
On 18 July, Mollie went for an evening run and disappeared until this week, when her body was discovered hidden in a cornfield about 12 miles from town. Charged with her murder is 24-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera who, we are told, is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who has been in the country since at least 2014. There appears to be sufficient evidence that Rivera did, in fact, murder Ms. Tibbetts, but in this country, there is a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven in a court of law. Neither the media nor Donald Trump are a court of law, nor am I. However, Trump has already convicted Mr. Rivera in his mind, on Twitter, and in the media, and now is determined to politicize Ms. Tibbetts’ death to serve his own ignoble purposes.
Within hours, Trump created a short (1:06) video clip that he posted to Twitter. It begins, “Mollie Tibbetts, an incredible young woman, is now permanently separated from her family.” He then goes on to denigrate Democrats, claim that the wall is being built, claim that we have the worst immigration laws and border security, etc., etc., etc. It is almost as if he orchestrated Ms. Tibbett’s death to give him this very platform.
While I have no desire to minimize Ms. Tibbetts’ tragic death, I question why Donald Trump is not as disturbed by the hundreds of people who die by the hand of angry white men each and every week in this country? Where is the empathy, Mr. Trump? Those murders don’t support your warped theory, do they? Facts, people … focus on the facts. While Ms. Tibbetts’ death is tragic, it is the anomaly rather than the norm.
Since his initial video clip, Trump has invoked Ms. Tibbetts name and the tragedy of her murder multiple times. But the members of Mollie Tibbetts’ family are having none of it. Her aunt, Billie Jo Calderwood, wrote on Facebook:
“Please remember, Evil comes in EVERY color. Our family has been blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship and support throughout this entire ordeal by friends from all different nations and races.”
I wish I could hug this woman!!!
However, if you think that respect for the family or for this tragedy will stop Trump & Co from politicizing it, from using it to promote their own agenda, think again.
“If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble. If we can be blocked by Manafort-Cohen, etc, then GOP could lose [the] House badly.” – Newt Gingrich
Don Trump, Jr., also had to get his say in, only he couldn’t be bothered to spell Ms. Tibbetts’ name correctly.On the flip side, one of Fox News’ own contributors, Geraldo Rivera, apparently found a bit of a conscience lying on his dresser, for he said, “This is a murder story. It’s not an immigration story.”
For Donald Trump, or anybody to use this tragedy to promote an agenda, even if the agenda were legitimate, which this one is not, is unconscionable. It is crass, it is crude, it is unfeeling and unthinking. The Tibbetts family deserve better than this. They deserve compassion, they deserve privacy, they deserve respect. They do not deserve seeing their name on every news site and television news show. They deserve much better than the fake sympathy Trump uttered in his photo-op video clip.
And once again, I would remind people that the vast majority of murders in this country are committed by U.S. citizens, not immigrants. And there are literally hundreds every day. In 2016, there were approximately 17,250 murders in the United States. That is an average of 47 per day every day. That is an average of 329 every week. Have you heard Trump’s outrage over the murder rate statistics? No, me either. Did you hear him call for stricter gun laws after the Parkland mass school shooting in February? Nope, me either.
Mollie Tibbetts’ death was, as so many deaths are, unnecessary, tragic, and sad. But it was one … one … of tens of thousands that happen every year in this nation of unlimited and unrestricted gun ownership. Almost without fail, most murders are committed by U.S. citizens, mostly male. They are not typically committed by immigrants. Let’s get the facts straight and leave the poor family of Mollie Tibbetts to grieve in private.