On Tuesday, police in Iowa arrested Christian Rivera, 24, and charged him with the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, who had gone missing more than a month ago while jogging. The following day, the White House released a tweet which focused on the alleged fact that Rivera is an undocumented immigrant:
A court document filed on Wednesday morning by Rivera’s lawyer claimed he was working in Iowa legally.
Tibbetts’s family released a statement which took a very different tone from the White House:
Our hearts are broken.
On behalf of Mollie’s entire family, we thank all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl. We know that many of you will join us as we continue to carry Mollie in our hearts forever.
At this time, our family asks that we be allowed the time to process our devastating loss and share our grief in private.
Again, thank you for the outpouring of love and support that has been shared in Mollie’s name. We remain forever grateful.
On Tuesday night, Billie Jo Calderwood, Mollie Tibbetts’s aunt, released a statement 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. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
Despite the words of Tibbetts’s family, many on the right have echoed the White House’s politicization of the murder. On Twitter, right-wing pundit Candace Owens got into an argument with a man claiming to Tibbetts’s cousin, whom badgered for not agreeing with the White House line on the murder.