Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick claimed on Fox News Thursday that the Democrats and left-leaning media are “accomplices” in the murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts.

Appearing on “America’s Newsroom,” Mr. Patrick, a Republican, said the Democrats were dragging their feet on bipartisan immigration reform because they’re trying to politicize the issue ahead of the November midterm elections.

“On the left, it’s pure politics,” he said, according to a clip flagged by Mediaite. “They’re playing with people’s lives. Again, American citizens and people who legitimately want to come here aren’t criminals. They’re playing with their lives for politics.”

Mr. Patrick then attacked the left-leaning media, saying they’re complicit in Tibbetts’ murder.

“The CNNs, the MSNBCs, most of the print media in this country and the Democrats — they are all accomplices in the death of this young girl and the death of everyone else,” he said, without elaborating.

“And even Geraldo Rivera,” he added. “I’ve never met the guy. I seem to like him — seems like he’s got a good heart. I saw him on Fox saying, ‘I feel badly about this, but—’ There is no ‘but.’ And I’ll be happy to debate Geraldo Rivera any time, any place, anywhere on this issue.”

Mr. Rivera fired back in a series of tweets Thursday, accepting Mr. Patrick’s challenge to a debate. The Fox News commentator argued that the majority of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. were otherwise law-abiding, and that Ms. Tibbetts’ death shouldn’t be used as a political talking point.

@DanPatrick claims outrageously that I’m effectively an accomplice to horrifying murder of #mollytibbetts because I beg compassion & mercy for undocumented immigrants-How dare he make so false an allegation? He is fear-mongering & I accept his challenge for debate. @seanhannity
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) August 23, 2018

Vast majority of the 11-12 million undocumented here are hardworking, otherwise law-abiding-For decades they’ve come & gone home over Southern border. Since 9/11 these workers have been treated as terrorists by politicians like @danpatrick Ratify #DACA bring reason to immigration
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) August 23, 2018

Days ago a fiend named #ChrisWatts allegedly slaughtered his 2 little children, his pregnant wife & his unborn child. Yet scarcely an utterance from politicians like @DanPatrick. Why no outrage? Imagine if this monster had been an undocumented Latino?! There would be a lynching.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) August 23, 2018

Anytime Anyplace-how about on @seanHannity the #1 show on cable-Enough jingo rhetoric to gain votes rather than heal this wound & fix this problem. Immigration reform now.Politicians like @DanPatrick don’t want a fix. They want an issue to divide & distract Americans. https://t.co/tfqVqKGHY2
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) August 23, 2018

Mr. Patrick agreed to debate Mr. Rivera, tweeting that he had already contacted Fox News host Sean Hannity.

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I am ready to debate @GeraldoRivera. We immediately called @seanhannity but they haven’t put this together yet. Let me be clear. A 7 minute segment is not a debate. I will fly to NYC for 30 mins, face to face, Sept 4 or 5. Hope @seanhannity will graciously host. #txlege
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) August 23, 2018

I agree to these terms. Let’s see and hear who has the moral and legal high ground
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) August 23, 2018

The body of Ms. Tibbetts was found Tuesday in Poweshiek County, one month after she disappeared while jogging. Cristhian Rivera, a reported illegal immigrant, faces first-degree murder charges in her death.

Reacting to the news of the arrest, President Trump at a rally in Charleston, West Virginia, called the nation’s immigration laws “a disgrace.”

“Should have never happened. Illegally in our country,” the president said. “We’ve had a huge impact, but the laws are so bad, the immigration laws are such a disgrace. We’re getting it changed but we have to get more Republicans.”

© Copyright (c) 2018 News World Communications, Inc.

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