Mollie Tibbetts's Father Fired Back at Conservatives' Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric During His Daughter's Eulogy

Rob Tibbetts. (Screenshot via YouTube).

The death of Mollie Tibbetts has become a political talking point for conservatives since her body was discovered last week. The suspect, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, is a Mexican national who authorities say was in the country illegally; as a result, many Republicans, including President Donald Trump himself, have used the murder to make the case for harsher immigration legislation. But the father of the victim is not having it.

Speaking at his daughter's funeral service, Rob Tibbetts rejected the vitriol directed at the Hispanic community since Rivera was arrested for the murder.


“The Hispanic community are Iowans. They have the same values as Iowans,” he said, according to the Des Moines Register. "As far as I'm concerned," he added, "they're Iowans with better food," highlighting how he ate at numerous Mexican restaurants while staying in Iowa for six weeks as authorities worked to locate his daughter.

The line drew applause from the more than 1,200 funeral attendees. Those following the case on social media also praised the grieving father.

Saying he wanted to celebrate "something wonderful," Tibbetts asked a newly married couple to stand up. The crowd applauded.

"That felt good. That’s what Mollie would have done," he said.

"Let's try one more," he continued. "Let’s hear it for the Bears football team — for their first win." The crowd applauded once more: Mollie's younger brother, Scott, who is the starting quarterback, helped lead the team to victory, scoring three touchdowns.

Tibbetts also asked the community to come together in honoring his daughter:

Today, we need to turn the page. We’re at the end of a long ordeal. But we need to turn toward life — Mollie’s life — because Mollie’s nobody’s victim. Mollie’s my hero.

The person best equipped to help us through this is Mollie. So let’s try to do what Mollie would do. Let’s say what Mollie would say.

Other family members recalled Mollie's love for others. Morgan Collum, Mollie’s cousin stressed that Tibbets was nonjudgmental and, as the Des Moines Register points out, "sought to find the good in everyone she met."

"Please, don’t be mad at God for taking Mollie away from us," Collum told the crowd. "Rather, praise God for his perfect creation in making a soul so sweet, so pure and so caring to all."

The Reverend Corey Close, the pastor at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Brooklyn, Iowa, also encouraged the mourners to find inspiration in Mollie's  “bright, shining light” and "infectious joy and smiling."

“When I think of the life of Mollie Tibbetts and her tragic death, I wonder why she is gone and I am still here,” he said, adding:

Do not let Mollie die in vain. Rededicate yourselves to live a good life, a faithful life, a life of goodness and compassion. It is so easy to be bitter, to feel like we have nothing to contribute. But Mollie’s energy, her smile and her tenacity for doing good reminded me who I am called to be.

In recent days, the grieving family had demanded that "despicable partisans" not politicize Mollie's death.

There was significant backlash, for example, after conservative commentator Candace Owens used the death to rally for harsher immigration laws.

"How many more AMERICAN lives is the left willing to sacrifice for elections?" she asked.

The tweets prompted a response from Sam Lucas, a distant cousin, who demanded Owens stop "using my cousins [sic] death as political propaganda. take her name out of your mouth."

“I was just like, ‘Holy cow, my family just lost a member and this is the immediate response,'" Lucas told The Washington Post last week.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The United States, unlike North Korea and other nations President Donald Trump admires, does not have an official state media channel where the federal government can push propaganda.

But since his 2016 campaign, Trump has spoken as though he does have an official state media in Fox News.

Keep reading...
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Retired General John Kelly served as President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff until late 2018, and now he's siding against Trump on a crucial point.

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton's allegations in his upcoming memoir have rocked the impeachment trial in the Senate. Bolton claims Trump sought to withhold aid from Ukraine until it acquiesced to performing politically beneficial investigations for Trump's reelection bid.

Keep reading...

As calls continue to grow for former National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify before the Senate in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is feeling left out.

Demands for Bolton's testimony skyrocketed among the public after allegations in his upcoming memoir that Trump sought to withhold Ukrainian aid as late as September to secure foreign investigations into Trump's political rivals.

Keep reading...
Fox News

Explosive allegations from an upcoming memoir by former National Security Advisor John Bolton are strengthening the case for additional witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

According to Bolton's manuscript, the President sought as recently as September to withhold $391 million in congressionally approved aid to Ukraine until its President announced investigations into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Keep reading...
Scott Olson/Getty Images // Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The defense team in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial spent its second day of arguments defending Rudy Giuliani, bashing House Democrats, and ignoring bombshell developments regarding former National Security Advisor John Bolton that broke in the days before.

The team went after a familiar target in a performance that was likely for an audience of one: Donald Trump.

Keep reading...
C-SPAN

Ken Starr, a conservative pundit and frequent Fox News guest, is best known for his dogged attacks to find impeachable offenses by President Bill Clinton during a multi-year investigation into every aspect of the Clinton family's lives.

In the end, Starr found an extramarital affair which was used to impeach Clinton and that Clinton lied under oath about his personal life.

Keep reading...