GOP Having Field Day With Elizabeth Warren’s Comments on Immigration, Mollie Tibbetts Murder

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Massachusetts Republicans are pouncing on U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s nonresponsive pivot when she was asked on CNN about an Iowa co-ed who police say was murdered by an illegal immigrant.

Warren said she is sorry for the family, but that immigration policy needs to concentrate “on where real problems are,” and she spent the rest of her answer talking about mothers and children who were separated at the Mexico border several weeks ago by federal authorities.

The three GOP candidates looking for the party’s nomination to take on Warren in the fall attacked Warren’s comments, focusing instead on Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old psychology major at the University of Iowa whose body was found buried in corn stalks Tuesday, after an illegal immigrant from Mexico led police to it.

State Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) compared the Iowa murder to a case in Milford, Massachusetts in August 2011, and linked Warren’s comments to her call for abolishing the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“It has been seven years since Maureen Maloney was permanently separated from her son, Matthew Denice, due to being dragged to his death by a drunk driving illegal immigrant. Yesterday, we learned that Mollie Tibbetts was killed by an illegal immigrant. These are the real problems,” Diehl said in a written statement. “While I don’t support separating children at the border, I recognize that the murders of children are a real problem.  Senator Warren is wrong. On behalf of the angel moms and families, I ask Senator Warren to retract her statement calling for the abolishment of ICE.”

Businessman John Kingston said Warren should apologize to the victim’s family.

“Sadly, this is just more of what we’ve come to expect from Elizabeth Warren and her extremist platform. After horrific tragedies like this, we should be focusing on bringing people together to heal – not trying to divide people to score cheap political points. Senator Warren’s outrageously insensitive remarks are yet another example of how out of touch she is. She should be ashamed and owes the Tibbetts family an immediate apology,” Kingston said in a statement. “Warren once again demonstrates she is more worried about illegal immigrants and open borders than the safety of American citizens. That is just wrong.”

Beth Lindstrom, a former political consultant and former Mitt Romney aide, said Warren doesn’t appear to care about enforcing immigration laws.

“When CNN asked Senator Warren today about the murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts, she chose to complain about the treatment of illegal immigrants at the border instead of putting the blame where it belongs — on a person who was in the country illegally and is alleged to have committed the crime,” Lindstrom said in a written statement. “Abolishing ICE, as Senator Warren is proposing, is going to make matters worse. Senator Warren’s support for sanctuary cities increases the pressure on law enforcement. I’m hoping the horribly tragic murder of Mollie Tibbetts will finally cause Senator Warren to realize we must secure the border and enforce America’s immigration laws.”

Even Rick Green, a businessman running unopposed in the Republican primary for the open Third Congressional District seat that includes the Merrimack Valley, got in shots at Warren, who won’t be his opponent in November.

“The government’s job is to keep your children safe. Period. The insanity of sanctuary policies must end,” Green said in a written statement. “The people of the 3rd District need to know whether the Democratic candidates for Congress agree with Senator Warren’s statements, that the murder of Molly Tibbetts, separating her from her family forever, is not a ‘real problem’.” 

Warren’s answer came at the tail end of an interview Tuesday morning by John Berman on CNN’s New Day that mostly focused on her recent proposals to curb lobbying and conflicts of interest in Washington.

A transcript of the question and answer appears below. The video of this portion of the interview starts at 5:36:


John Berman of CNN:

I want to get one last question in here, because it is a story, a very important story in the news. It has to do with Mollie Tibbetts, the young woman in Iowa who was murdered. Her body believed to be found yesterday. A person has been charged with it. This person is an undocumented immigrant. Mike Pence and the president have suggested the immigration laws need to be stronger, so that people like this man, who is accused of this murder, were not in the country. Your reaction.

Elizabeth Warren:

I’m so sorry for the family here, and I know this is hard not only for the family but for the people in her community, the people throughout Iowa. But one of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are.

Last month, I went down to the border, and I saw where children had been taken away from their mothers. I met with those mothers who had been lied to, who didn’t know where their children were, who hadn’t had a chance to talk to their children. And there was no plan for how they would be reunified with their children. I think we need immigration laws that focus on people who pose a real threat. And I don’t think mamas and babies are the place that we should be spending our resources. Separating a mama from a baby does not make this country safer.