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Fox News Panel Heats Up After Juan Williams Tries to Use Mollie Tibbetts to Slam Trump

'There's lots of murders in America,' this pundit remarked — then things really went off the rails

On Wednesday’s edition of “The Five,” Fox News pundit Juan Williams took issue with President Donald Trump’s highlighting of the horrific murder of college student Mollie Tibbetts by an illegal alien in Iowa — the lead story on the episode.

Williams provoked reaction from co-panelists Greg Gutfeld, Dana Perino, Jesse Watters, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi with his comments about the tragic story that has been making national headlines ever since Tibbetts disappeared in mid-July.

Williams argued that the reason the president drew attention to the death of the college student — whom police now strongly suspect was killed by illegal immigrant Cristhian Rivera — was to “distract” people from the legal cases involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the president’s former attorney, Michael Cohen.

“What you see is that people use this for their own purpose,” Williams said. “In Trump’s case, he’s using this to distract and to deceive people … in terms of the big news of the day, which is about the Michael Cohen plea deal, about Paul Manafort being convicted,” he continued. “At this point you have the president’s personal lawyer, his campaign chairman, his national security adviser [Michael Flynn], all convicted felons — but instead we want to talk about a murder.”

“There’s lots of murders in America,” Williams added, disturbingly. “There is a lower rate of violent crime among illegal immigrants and immigrants than there is among native-born Americans,” he claimed.

Jesse Watters responded to his Fox News colleague’s remark with a feisty rebuttal.

“We’re going to be talking about the Cohen and Manafort cases in the B-block,” Watters said, referring to the rest of the program. “Now, we’re leading the show with this story. So it seems like you’re the one that’s trying to distract from this story.”

“No,” Williams objected. “We’re leading with a story about one woman’s death—”

“You just sounded like the professor,” Watters interjected, referring to Dr. Christina Greer, a Fordham University professor who has since apologized for her remark on MSNBC when she called Tibbetts a “girl in Iowa” that “Fox News is talking about.”

“Just some woman in Iowa,” Watters continued, virtually repeating the professor’s words but interrupted by crosstalk.

“Just a girl in Iowa,” Gutfeld chimed in.

“No one died on a tax evasion case, Juan,” Watters added.

“But the presidency of the United States, Jesse, is imperiled by these decisions,” Williams retorted.

“According to you,” Watters remarked.

The argument turned into a debate about illegal immigration and its connection to tragic stories like the Mollie Tibbetts murder case.

Related: Outrage in Iowa: Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Mollie Tibbetts’ Alleged Murderer

Williams was not the only liberal journalist to provoke heated reaction for objecting to the president’s honoring of the life of Mollie Tibbetts. AP reporter Zeke Miller drew backlash on Twitter for an insensitive remark that Mollie Tibbetts’ death was “likely coming soon to a Trump rally near you.”

Some journalists and reporters seem to want to use every major news story to embark on relentless attacks on Trump. Everything else, even the senseless murder of a young girl, is just a “distraction.”

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Kyle Becker is a content writer and producer with LifeZette.