U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s cringeworthy policy response to the murder of a 20-year-old Iowa college student — allegedly by an illegal immigrant — is being seen as a tone-deaf stumble in a key presidential caucus state.
“The state of Iowa has been following and thinking and worrying about Mollie Tibbetts for the past weeks, and that kind of comment is just outrageous,” said prominent Iowa fundraiser and GOP consultant Becky Beach, who gasped when she heard the Cambridge Democrat weigh in on Tibbetts.
Warren — viewed as a likely 2020 Democratic contender — was asked on CNN’s “New Day” about toughening immigration laws after Tibbetts’ brutal murder. An alleged illegal immigrant has been arrested.
“I’m so sorry for the family and I know this is hard, not only for the family but for the people in her community, the people throughout Iowa,” Warren said about Tibbetts, whose disappearance gripped the Hawkeye State for the last month.
“But,” Warren continued, “one of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are.”
Warren then made an impassioned plea to reunite families of illegal immigrants detained at the United States border — a subject change that left fuming GOP critics baffled.
“Last month, I went down to the border and I saw where children had been taken away from their mothers,” Warren said. “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 that mamas and babies are the place that we should be spending our resources. Separating a mama from her baby does not make this country safer.”
For 34 days, investigators searched for 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts. Yesterday, an illegal alien, now charged with first-degree murder, led police to the cornfield where her body was found.
The Tibbetts family has been permanently separated. They are not alone. pic.twitter.com/BBskwHEJoU
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 22, 2018
“An innocent girl was murdered by an illegal immigrant, and Elizabeth Warren treats it like an inconvenience to her talking points,” wrote Republican National Party chairwoman Ronna McDaniels on Twitter.
President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. also weighed in.
“Yea the problem is not the murder of a young American girl…,” tweeted Trump Jr. “You cant make this crap up. Is the left’s platform really defend anyone but actual Americans? I don’t know how to interpret it any other way.”
Warren has become a key Democratic critic of President Trump and appears to be preparing for a 2020 challenge — meeting with key political operatives in Iowa and other early presidential voting states. But Beach said Warren’s answer is likely to alienate Iowa voters.
“An attitude like that will not suit her well with Iowans, whether they are Republican or Democrat,” said Beach.
Conservative pundit Kyle Smith even called the stilted answer “actually worse than Dukakis on the death penalty.” The reference was to former Bay State Gov. Michael Dukakis’ cut-and-dry dismissal of the death penalty following an emotionally charged debate question asking if he’d support capital punishment if his own wife were murdered.
Local Republicans looking to beat Warren in her upcoming re-election bid also criticized the senior senator.
“Elizabeth Warren callously moves on from Mollie Tibbetts to say that, ‘No, no. Families at the border are the real issue,’ ” said Republican U.S. Senate candidate Geoff Diehl. “I think public safety in Massachusetts and around the country based on immigration policy are also at issue, and she doesn’t seem to want to talk about that.”
But Democrats dismissed the outrage yesterday, saying that Republican protests only prove that they are scared of Warren’s progressive appeal.
“They see Elizabeth Warren as a threat. No one gets under Donald Trump’s skin more than Elizabeth Warren, and they will take every opportunity to whack her,” said Democratic consultant Mary Anne Marsh, adding that Republicans are cherry-picking Warren’s comments.
“When you watch the whole interview,” Marsh added, “you see that the first thing out of her mouth is an expression of sympathy.”
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