Daily Caller “reporter at large” Benny Johnson, who’s best known as a plagiarist, took a deep breath on Tuesday evening and, with heavy heart, posted a full-tilt racist diatribe about the man charged with murdering Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts.
Twenty-four-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera, whom authorities identified as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, was charged Tuesday after police said he admitting to pursuing Tibbetts, who was 20, while she was on a run on a country road. Although her body has not been formally identified yet, police said they believe that a body found hidden in corn stalks yesterday was hers, drawing a month-long search to a close.
The story is tragic enough—a young woman’s life was cut off in its prime. But you can see where this goes next: into another panic about the suspect’s undocumented status, a cause Donald Trump started in on last night. Enter Benny:
“Mollie went for a run on one of those sleepy Iowa farm roads I grew up on. She was abducted, murdered & had her body dumped in a ditch by a third-world monster who should have never been within a thousand miles of Mollie,” Johnson wrote on Facebook and Instagram, with a side-by-side photo of a beaming Tibbetts and Rivera’s mugshot.
He continued (emphasis mine):
This human garbage had spent six years (!) in our country illegally being shielded, protected & humanized at every turn by the policies of national Democrats. This bastard crossed our borders illegally and even though he does not share our culture, worldview or value system he was allowed to stay long enough to murder an American in the prime of her life & leave her body in the dirt for 34 days.
How is it possible that the sub-human horror of the third-world can find its way to the peaceful farm communities of my upbringing?
It bears repeating: Democrats & open-borders advocates have the blood of Mollie Tibbetts on their hands. The disgraceful policies of sanctuary cities, catch-and-release & open borders have led to American bloodshed.
“Sub-human horror of the third-world”? Immigrants couldn’t possibly “share our culture” or “value system”?
When I reached out to Daily Caller Editor in Chief Geoffrey Ingersoll for comment on Johnson’s remarks—in which I pointed out that characterizing people as “sub-human” wouldn’t be out of place on a white supremacist site like Stormfront—he accused me of calling Johnson a Nazi. I’ll update this post if he provides any further comment; I’ve also reached out to Johnson.
Even if Rivera committed the crime he’s accused of, it doesn’t particularly matter that he was undocumented. (Besides, immigrants to the U.S. commit fewer crimes, not more, than native-born Americans.) It doesn’t particularly matter that he was working in Iowa for a prominent Republican who was once in the running to be Trump’s agriculture secretary (although you can imagine if the political tables were turned and this happened in 2010, it would matter a great deal to these same people). Weaponizing these details is cravenly politicizing the dead, a charge conservatives constantly level at liberals in the wake of tragedy.
Let the killer be convicted. Let Tibbetts’ family find peace. It’s all terrible enough without co-opting a young woman’s death to push your political agenda.
Update, 11:50 a.m.: Ingersoll followed up with a longer statement:
Benny’s rhetoric is bombastic and emotionally charged at worst. While it contains a geopolitical inaccuracy, it’s absent of a racial element.
“Monster” is indisputable at this point and probably not the focus of your article, I assume.
I’m guessing you’ve already made your judgement, but I’d take the hyper-offended internet mob’s interpretation of things with a grain of salt. I’m also guessing your headline will contain the word “racist” in quotes and be pegged to some rando or perennially offended blue check mark.
I think the bar should be higher than the presence of the accusation.
Update 2, 4:23 p.m.: Attorney Allen Richards, who is representing Rivera in the case, disputed law enforcement’s claim that his client is undocumented.
According to the Des Moines Register, Richards said Rivera has lived in Iowa for four to seven years working on the farm owned by Craig Lang, the Iowa Republican, who Richards said had verified Rivera was in Iowa legally.
He also said he was “sad and sorry Trump has weighed in on this matter in national media which will poison the entire possible pool of jury members.”