The Republican Party could score big in the midterms if Mollie Tibbetts, a woman thought to have been murdered by an illegal immigrant, becomes a “household name,” Newt Gingrich has mused, inciting fury on social media.
The longtime GOP sage and former Republican Speaker of the House and presidential candidate contacted Axios to make sure that the outlet was covering the murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts. A Mexican citizen living in the US under a false name was charged with her killing, and president Donald Trump and other Republicans have seized on the tragedy to push for tougher immigration laws – while framing the Democrats’ stance on illegal immigration as dangerous.
“If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble,” Gingrich noted. “If we can be blocked by Manafort-Cohen, etc., then GOP could lose [the House] badly.”
“I think that Mollie Tibbetts could be a more important person in SEptember and October, than Paul Manafort ever dreamed of,” Gingrich added in an interview with Fox.
Gingrich’s not-so-subtle midterm strategy was pounced on by social media, with Twitter users decrying his comments as cynical but par for the course.
“Newt is a dumpsterfire of a human being,” Democratic activist Holly O’Reilly tweeted, noting that Tibbetts’ family members have objected to the politicization of her death.
“If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble."
1) Molly's family has asked Republicans not to politicize her murder.
2) Newt is a dumpsterfire of a human being.
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) August 23, 2018
“Gingrich, party before country ALWAYS. Criminals, the lot of ’em,” another user tweeted out.
"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." — Gingrich
Gingrich, party before country ALWAYS.
Criminals, the lot of 'em.https://t.co/4BeLnJH9GM
— fen (@fenrir_71) August 22, 2018
“Being an obviously bad person has never hindered Gingrich’s reputation or advancement in the GOP as far as I can tell,” prominent #Resistance leader Seth Abramson wrote. Others tweeted out that Gingrich “is THE GOP goblin” and “Trump but with human hair.”
Being an obviously bad person has never hindered Gingrich's reputation or advancement in the GOP as far as I can tell https://t.co/fIDtWl09fo
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) August 24, 2018
To make matters a bit more prickly, a lawyer representing the suspect, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, asserted in a court filing on Wednesday that the man lives in the US legally. However, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that it had lodged a federal immigration detainer for Rivera, a prelude to deportation, and his former employer claimed that Rivera had provided false identification in order to pass a screening process.
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