President Obama accused various Republican critics of his Syrian refugee policy of being “scared of widows and orphans,” and argued, “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” during a speech at the APEC summit, portions of which were aired on Tuesday’s “CNN Tonight.”
Obama said, “If there are concrete actual questions to enhance this extraordinary screening process that’s already in place, we’re welcome — we’re open to hearing actual ideas, but that’s not really what’s been going on in this debate. When candidates say, we wouldn’t admit 3-year-old orphans, that’s political posturing. When individuals say that we should have a religious test, and that only Christians, proven Christians, should be admitted, that’s offensive, and contrary to American values.”
He continued, “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. ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West. And when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are, in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop. And I would add, by the way, these are the folks oftentimes who suggest that they’re so tough, that just talking to Putin, or staring down ISIL, or using some additional rhetoric somehow is going to solve the problems out there. But apparently, they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America, as part of our tradition of compassion. Now, first they were worried about the press being too tough on them during debates, now they’re worried about 3-year-old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me.”
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