Not even 24 hours after news broke that missing Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts was murdered by an illegal immigrant, the media are already trying to sweep her story under the rug and whine that Republicans want to distract attention away from the “more important” Michael Cohen plea deal.
On the 9am EST hour of MSNBC Wednesday, Republican strategist Evan Siegfried ranted that Republicans were ignoring what was really important, Cohen implicating Trump, and that was “unbelievably sad:”
Republicans, as an attempt both to get that funding and to talk about something else with the base, are using the tragedy of Mollie Tibbetts, and what happened to her, murdered by an illegal immigrant...Republicans are ignoring what has happened [with Trump] and are not holding him accountable. I think that’s unbelievably sad!
Just an hour later, another guest on MSNBC’s Live With Hallie Jackson made the same point. Vice’s Shawna Thomas whined to Jackson that Trump supporters just “didn’t care” about what was really important, such as the Manafort and Cohen trials. Instead they were watching Fox News talk about Tibbetts:
For the country I think it [Cohen and Manafort trials] matters. Politically when we’re talking about an election, if Trump supporters believe that he’s being unfairly targeted, that it’s a witch hunt, last night a lot of what was on Fox News was about Mollie Tibbetts, which is an important story and also incredibly sad. But also is part of the narrative of undocumented immigrants doing bad things in this country, then maybe it [Cohen implication] doesn’t matter to Trump supporters!
Later on MSNBC during the 2PM hour Wednesday, contributor Zerlina Maxwell took another approach, claiming that Trump was giving undue attention to Tibbett’s murder while ignoring the murder of Nia Wilson (who was stabbed on Oakland’s public transit system in July.) Maxwell claimed that attack was racially motivated but local authorities have denied that claim. Still, she repeated the false idea that illegal immigrants commit less crimes than regular citizens and claimed white supremacist violence was “up”:
The president uses these racial wedge issues to excite his base and to get them excited about voting for Republicans. And I think that is a really sad state of affairs because what happened to Mollie is tragic...But I would also say this. Nia Wilson is also an American who was killed tragically for no apparent reason in Oakland, California recently. A black teenager. And there wasn't the same amount of coverage...You didn't hear anything from the President... But white supremacist violence is up while undocumented immigrants commit fewer crimes than United States citizens. So that's just the context for this particular story in this news cycle. It's tragic. Also we need to understand that the president is using it and exploiting it for his political purposes.
Also on Carol Costello’s show on HLN this morning, attorney Darren Kavinoky also blamed Trump for politicizing the story, and repeated that false assertion that illegal immigrants commit less crimes than citizens. He added:
“I think everybody needs to understand and appreciate that it is individuals who commit crime not communities. And clearly, we see Trump and Pence now politicizing this issue,” he stated.