President Barack Obama took a thinly veiled jab at the GOP presidential field Tuesday when he said that when politicians sling insults at Muslims, it’s not “telling it like it is” or making the country safer — it’s “just wrong.”
Obama made the comment during his final State of the Union address. He said that the world respects the United States for its diversity and tolerance of every faith.
“That’s why we need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness,” Obama said. “It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong.”
He went on to quote the speech Pope Francis gave to Congress when he visited last year before telegraphing Republican presidential candidates who’ve made disparaging comments about Muslims in the United States without singling out anyone by name.
“When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is,” Obama said, referencing GOP presidential hopeful and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s campaign slogan.
“It’s just wrong,” Obama continued. “It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country.”
This post has been updated.