Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blamed Democrats and the news media on Thursday for the murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts while arguing that lax immigration policy led to her death.
During an interview about Tibbetts' tragic death on Fox News, Patrick focused on the alleged undocumented immigration status of suspect Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24. Patrick said those who have opposed tougher border enforcement policies, such as President Donald Trump's proposed border wall, are responsible for the 20-year-old's death.
Patrick specifically singled out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Leader.
"I look at Chuck Schumer and, in my view, for pure politics, the blood of her and Kate Steinle – and the thousands across America in the last decade or more who have been killed by criminal aliens, many of them here illegally – The blood is on Chuck Schumer's hands, and every Democrat," Patrick said.
Patrick argued that as a politician from a border state, he understood the issue better than most. Then, without explanation, he blamed the American news media for Tibbetts' death.
"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.
Even Fox News was at fault, Patrick said, because host Geraldo Rivera expressed an unwillingness to blame Tibbetts' murder on immigrants. And Patrick said he is willing to debate Rivera on the topic, adding Rivera seems to have a "good heart."
"And I'll be happy to debate Geraldo Rivera anytime anyplace anywhere on this issue," he said. "We have to secure the border and protect the lives of American citizens."
Patrick is not the first conservative to pounce on Tibbetts' murder as a political issue.
Fox News host, and former Utah congressman, Jason Chaffetz said Tuesday that while he doesn't believe the story of Trump associates Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen being convicted on multiple felonies "moves the meter" with voters, the Tibbetts murder will.
"What does touch people's emotion is what happened to Mollie Tibbetts because they can relate to her, and she was murdered. And all the polls are showing that the number one issue is immigration," Chaffetz said.
Trump, who was reticent to mention Cohen and Manafort, cited Tibbetts in a rally Wednesday as a victim of current U.S. immigration policy.
"You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in very sadly from Mexico," Trump said at an appearance in West Virginia. "And you saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman."