GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is challenging President Obama to a debate over his policy plan to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States.
“Lets have a debate on your refugee policy and if you’re so certain that allowing tens of thousands of refugees, including potentially ISIS terrorists, is a good idea, if you’re so certain the American people are with you, then I would encourage you to come,” Cruz says, five days after Paris was attacked by terrorists, including at least one who reportedly traveled to Europe pretending to be refugees.
Cruz told reporters gathered outside the Capitol Hill Club Wednesday morning that it’s “unbefitting” of the President to launch insults and personal attacks against Republicans who have voiced concerns about potential terrorists coming to the U.S. through the Syrian refugee program.
A reporter asked Cruz, “President Obama yesterday said, and I’m going to quote here, ‘When individuals say we should have a religious test and that only Christians – proven Christians – should be admitted, that’s offensive and contrary to American values. I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate on refugees.’ What’s your response to that?”
“It’s fairly remarkable that President Obama has now chosen two days in a row to attack me directly,” Cruz responded.
He just called me offensive, the day before he called me un-American. I think it’s quite rich he chose to make both of those insults on foreign soil while he was abroad attacking me and attacking everyone else in this country who believes we shouldn’t be bringing in tens of thousand of Muslim refugees that the Obama Administration cannot vet to determine whether or not they are ISIS terrorists.
Cruz noted that Obama had belittled the Republican presidential candidates, saying they were scared.
“If you want to insult me, you can do it overseas. You can do it in Turkey. You can do it in foreign countries, but I would encourage you Mr. President, come back and insult me to my face,” Cruz charged.”Lets have a debate on Syrian refugees right now. We can do it anywhere you want. I’d prefer it in the United States and not overseas where you’re making the insults. It’s easy to toss a cheap insult when no one can respond.”
Cruz added that it’s “more than a little rich” that Obama said Republicans are scared too answer questions from reporters when Obama doesn’t take “hard questions” and is only interviewed by left-leaning reporters.
Lets have the debate anytime or place and if he actually wants to defend his policy instead of tossing cheap insults, I think that actually will be beneficial for this country…I am working very hard in the Senate. I am working with [Rep.] Steve King in the House to prevent President Obama and Hillary Clinton from bringing tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to this country particularly because the federal government cannot effectively vet whether or not they’re ISIS terrorists.
“I don’t believe the answer is sending boots on the ground to Syria,” Cruz added, saying that too many people are eager to get Americans involved in a civil war there.
Following the challenge to Obama over a debate about Syrian refugees, Cruz was questioned about fellow GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). A reporter asked Cruz, “How do you respond to Senator Rubio’s claims that you voted to weaken U.S. intelligence and what does his shifts on immigration tell you about him?”
Cruz first responded that Rubio is a friend of his, and said “he’s a very charming person.”
I don’t think it’s surprising at all that the Rubio campaign is trying very very hard to change the topic of discussion away from Marco’s long time support and partnership with Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama pushing a massive amnesty plan. I think the campaign has discovered that his positions on amnesty is bad politics and they don’t want to talk about them, so they’re trying to change the subject.
“His view and my view on immigration are very, very different,” Cruz, said about Rubio, adding that it is important to secure the border and stop illegal immigration.
Cruz said that if he is elected President of the United States, “We will end illegal immigration and there will be no amnesty.”
He said that is a clear difference between him and other presidential candidates, adding that his stance on immigration is why he believes Iowa Rep. Steve King is supporting his campaign.
For his part, King told reporters, “You have to come down to one person…Ted Cruz checks all the boxes for me.” King said Cruz’s immigration plan is “excellent” and “practical” because it secures the border, reinforces the rule of law and doesn’t grant amnesty.
Prior to speaking to the media, King and Cruz met with a group of House conservatives at the Capitol Hill Club.