The family of Mollie Tibbetts do not want the college student’s death to become a political issue, but Newt Gingrich apparently couldn’t resist.
This week, police in Iowa found the body of the slain college student and have charged an undocumented immigrant with her murder. Many Republicans seized on her death to push for stronger immigration laws, prompting Mollie’s family to call on them to stop politicizing her death. Word may have never reached Gingrich.
On Wednesday, the former House Speaker said that Republicans have the opportunity to win big in November if they make an all-out effort to remind voters about Tibbetts’ murder — especially if her murder can blot out other bad news for Donald Trump.
“If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble,” Gingrich told Axios. “If we can be blocked by Manafort-Cohen, etc., then GOP could lose [the House] badly.”
Several family members of Mollie Tibbetts have already spoken out against attempts to politicize her death, saying that hate comes in all forms and that they do not wish to see her murder become a political football. Some on the left had also made her death into a political issue, noting that the murder suspect worked on a farm owned by a well-connected Iowa Republican family.
As Gingrich suggested, the upcoming midterm elections are critical for Republicans as they try to maintain control of the House and Senate amid predictions that Democrats could win big. Trump’s unpopularity has tamped down enthusiasm among Republican voters, and Democrats have double-digit leads on generic congressional ballots. If Republicans do lose control of either the House or Senate, it would deal a significant blow to Trump’s agenda and could set the stage for his impeachment depending on the results of the Russia investigation.
Donald Trump had already seized on Tibbetts’ death, suggesting at a campaign rally in West Virginia that her murder was the result of lax immigration laws and suggesting that Americans needed to vote for Republicans to prevent it from happening again.
“Should’ve never happened,” Trump said. “The laws are so bad, the immigration laws are such a disgrace. We’re getting it changed, but we have to get more Republicans.”
As CBS News noted, many other Republicans appeared to be following the lead of Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump, suggesting that Mollie Tibbetts’ death was evidence that the United States needed stricter immigration laws.