The father of Mollie Tibbetts, whose murder has become a rallying cry for anti-immigration conservatives and white nationalists, penned an op-ed in the Des Moines Register Saturday criticizing those who “callously distort and corrupt Mollie’s tragic death to advance a cause she vehemently opposed.”
“I encourage the debate on immigration; there is great merit in its reasonable outcome,” Rob Tibbetts wrote. “But do not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist. The act grievously extends the crime that stole Mollie from our family and is, to quote Donald Trump Jr., ‘heartless’ and ‘despicable.’”
“The person who is accused of taking Mollie’s life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are of all white people,” he added. “To suggest otherwise is a lie. Justice in my America is blind. This person will receive a fair trial, as it should be. If convicted, he will face the consequences society has set. Beyond that, he deserves no more attention.”
Following the discovery of Tibbetts’ body, the President, his administration and other prominent Republicans cited her death as an argument for restrictive immigration policies. And a white supremacist group referenced Tibbetts in a robocall that called her accused murderer “an invader from Mexico.”
“We don’t have to kill them all, but we do have to deport them all,” the call added.
“To the Hispanic community, my family stands with you and offers its heartfelt apology,” Rob Tibbetts wrote Saturday. “That you’ve been beset by the circumstances of Mollie’s death is wrong. We treasure the contribution you bring to the American tapestry in all its color and melody. And yes, we love your food.”
Several members of Tibbetts’ family have spoken out against the politicization of her death. A second cousin, Samantha Lucas, told CNN she believed Tibbetts “would not want this to be used as fuel against undocumented immigrants.”
“The Hispanic community are Iowans,” Rob Tibbetts said a week ago. “They have the same values as Iowans. As far as I’m concerned, they’re Iowans with better food.”