Grieving Michigan family says Trump lied about their daughter. Of course he did.

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Donald Trump stood before a crowd of supporters in Michigan this week and claimed he had spoken to family members of 25-year-old Ruby Garcia, who was killed last month:

“Ruby’s loved ones and community are left grieving for this incredible young woman, remembering what they called her, they said she had just this most contagious laughter and when she walked into the room she lit up the room, and I’ve heard that from so many people. I spoke to some of her family.”

The boyfriend charged in Garcia’s death is originally from Mexico and was in the country illegally. That created a perfect scenario for Trump, a chance to again label immigrants as violent, a chance to again dehumanize them and call them “animals.”

But according to Garcia’s family, Trump was lying. That's not surprising, since lying is what Trump does. He lies about wining the 2020 election he lost. He lies about what he's now calling "migrant crime," which isn't a thing supported by any data.

Former President Donald Trump campaigns for reelection on April 02, 2024, in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Former President Donald Trump campaigns for reelection on April 02, 2024, in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Ruby Garcia's family never heard from Trump. He lied.

“He did not speak with any of us, so it was kind of shocking seeing that he had said that he had spoke with us, and ... misinforming people on live TV,” Garcia’s sister, Mavi Garcia, told local TV news station Target 8.

Trump leveraged Garcia’s tragic death to gin up fear about the southern border. And he lied about speaking with the grieving family so he could appear to give a damn.

He doesn’t.

Laken Riley's death made the news, but data shows undocumented migrants commit fewer homicides than native-born Americans

Donald Trump doesn't give a damn about any victim's family

Former president Donald Trump addresses his supporters during a campaign rally on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, Wis.
Former president Donald Trump addresses his supporters during a campaign rally on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, Wis.

Let’s be clear about several things. Trump doesn’t care about the U.S.-Mexico border or immigrants in general. He doesn’t care about Garcia or her family in Michigan. And he definitely doesn’t care about you. (Yes, even you, MAGA fans. You're his marks, not his friends.)

Donald Trump cares about Donald Trump, and that is all. If claiming he had spoken with a grieving family helps Trump spook voters into thinking he alone can protect them from an imagined wave of criminal immigrants, then that’s good for Trump, and quite literally nothing else matters.

DeSantis may get revenge on Trump: Florida Supreme Court puts abortion on the ballot – and hands Trump a serious problem

The truth about what happened to Ruby Garcia is what should matter

Here are some facts about Garcia’s case:

According to police, Garcia was in a romantic relationship with 25-year-old Brandon Ortiz-Vite, who was in the country illegally. On March 22, Garcia’s body was found on the side of a freeway in Grand Rapids. She had been shot to death.

The suspect was arrested and later confessed to the crime. According to a USA TODAY report: “Ortiz-Vite came to the country ‘unlawfully’ as a child and was given legal status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but that expired in 2019. He was deported in 2020, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but returned illegally to the U.S. at ‘an unknown date.’ ”

Kent County prosecutor Chris Becker said of the crime: “This is another case of a domestic violence homicide that we’ve seen, quite frankly, far too often over the last few years.”

Trump is quick to bash immigrants, ignoring guns and domestic violence

The defendant in this case was raised here and did have legal status for some time. He was deported in September 2020, while Trump was still president. We have no idea when he reentered the country. It might’ve happened during President Joe Biden’s term, or it could have happened while Trump was still in office.

What matters far more than where Ortiz-Vite was originally born is that he was able to illegally purchase a gun and then use it in an act of domestic violence.

I didn’t hear Trump, between his xenophobic rants, saying he would address the ease with which violent men can obtain firearms. I didn’t hear him mention how, according to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, an average of 70 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner each month. Trump was silent on the fact that, according to the Emory University School of Medicine, 5.3 million women are victims of intimate-partner violence each year.

Trump's selling Bibles. I hope he reads what it says about welcoming immigrants.

If Trump cared about border security, he wouldn't have stopped a bipartisan bill

He didn’t mention those things because he doesn’t care about them, and he doesn’t care about them because those issues don’t help him.

If Trump cared about the southern border, he would not have directed congressional Republicans to block a bipartisan border-security bill. He didn’t want that bill passed because it might have helped the situation at the border and made it harder for him to attack Biden on the issue.

If he cared about Garcia’s family, he would’ve spoken with them, and listened. Instead, he lied about speaking with them and cynically used Ruby Garcia’s death as a way to bash immigrants.

Opinion alerts: Get columns from your favorite columnists + expert analysis on top issues, delivered straight to your device through the USA TODAY app. Don't have the app? Download it for free from your app store.

'What about Americans who do heinous crimes like that?'

The victim’s sister, Mavi Garcia, called Trump out on this: “It’s always been about illegal immigrants. Nobody really speaks about when Americans do heinous crimes, and it’s kind of shocking why he would just bring up illegals. What about Americans who do heinous crimes like that?”

Trump doesn’t care about that. He cares about one thing and one thing only: himself.

And if lying about talking to a grieving family while using their grief to fearmonger benefits Trump, he’s all in.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on X, formerly Twitter, @RexHuppke and Facebook

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ruby Garcia's family say they never heard from Trump. He lied