In an impassioned rant on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said America should join with France in declaring war on the Islamic State.
“Our French fellow citizens, our French friends have discovered an extraordinary horror,” Huckabee said, referring to the terrorist attacks in Paris that left 129 dead on Friday. “It is time to stand shoulder to shoulder with them. It’s time we realize that if they’re willing to go to war with ISIS, we need to go to war with them. We need to call upon every person in the civilized world to stop this malignant cancer.”
Huckabee paired his aggressive call for military action in the Middle East with a vocal rejection of Syrian refugees fleeing violence in their home country. He compared the hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians to “peanuts,” saying we can’t risk bringing terrorists into the country along with refugees.
“If you bought a five-pound bag of peanuts and there were about ten peanuts that were deadly poisonous, would you feed them to your kids?” he said. “The answer is no.”
“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough pointed out that there is “an extraordinarily stringent process to bring refugees to this country,” but Huckabee held fast to his line of argument.
He insisted the U.S. should prioritize Christians over Muslims when considering who to admit to the country, saying, “I don’t know of any other group of people uniquely who are targeting these individual civilians.”
“The number one job of the president is to protect Americans, not the reputation of Islam,” he continued.
Huckabee has joined several other GOP presidential candidates, as well as Republican governors from 27 states, in calling for a halt to Obama’s program to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year. On Monday, he said that newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan should step down if he can’t prevent the “importation” of refugees to the U.S.
A PolitiFact investigation found that it can already take up to three years for refugees from countries where terrorism is a concern, like Syria, to be granted admission to the United States.