Governor Brewer Retracts Beheading Claim (Kinda)

Governor Brewer walks back he beheadings claims.

After avoiding an actual answer to a question about her beheading claim in a recent debate, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has stepped back her claims (via the AP:  Ariz. governor says she was wrong about beheadings)

“That was an error, if I said that,” the Republican told The Associated Press on Friday. “I misspoke, but you know, let me be clear, I am concerned about the border region because it continues to be reported in Mexico that there’s a lot of violence going on and we don’t want that going into Arizona.”

She said she was referring to beheadings and other cartel-related violence in Mexico in comments she made earlier this summer about decapitated bodies found in the state’s southern region.

First, that has the feeling/quality of someone apologizing by saying “I am sorry if I offended anyone.”  Indeed, first she casts doubt on whether she said it and then categories her statement as misspeaking.

Second, she is compounding her original exaggeration with an untruth.  She was in July quoted as saying:  “Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded.”  That sentence is hard to defend as a misstatement.  It is quite clear from that statement that she was claims multiple events on the US side of the border, not a vague statement of concern about violence in Mexico.

Again, this matters because such statements have continued to fuel incorrect understanding of our border problems which, in turn, make real policy solutions almost impossible to achieve.

See, also:  Radically Misdiagnosing the Problem (Jan Brewer and Illegal Immigration).

Third, I would note that the statement above comports fairly closely to what a lot of critics (such as myself) have been saying about the border:  that there is a concerning amount of violence in Mexico and that we don’t want it to move into the United States, but note:  such a formulation accepts the predicate that the serious violence is in Mexico.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, Borders and Immigration, US Politics, , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. LaurenceB says:

    Both a liar and a coward.

  2. ponce says:

    Bruce Springsteen, U2, the Ramones,& Co. fighting Brewer’s vision for Arizona:

  3. anjin-san says:

    Tell a bald-faced lie under cover of authority, and when you are called on it, claim you “misspoke”. Honor, right wing style.