Obama Slams Ted Cruz For Suggesting ‘Religious Test’ On Syrian Refugees

Obama refugees Cruz
|
November 16, 2015 11:09 a.m.

President Obama hit back at Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) during a news conference on Monday at the G20 summit, saying it was “shameful” to suggest a “religious test” for refugees from the Middle East.

Obama didn’t mention Cruz by name, but his remarks came after the GOPer said Muslim refugees from Syria should be barred from coming to the United States but that Christians should be admitted.

“When I hear folks say that well maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who is fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful,” Obama said. “That’s not American. That’s not who we are.”

In the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, the Texas senator has argued that accepting Muslim refugees threatens America’s national security.

“There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror,” Cruz said at a South Carolina campaign event on Sunday, according to the Washington Post.

Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, fled the regime of US-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista for Texas in 1957.

Obama said on Monday that openness toward political refugees is essential to America’s national identity.

“The values that we are defending, the values that we’re fighting against ISIL for, are precisely that we don’t discriminate against people because of their faith,” Obama told the audience at the G20 summit. “We don’t kill people because they’re different than us. That’s what separates us from them. And we don’t feed that kind of notion that somehow Christians and Muslims are at war.”

The president commended his predecessor and Cruz’s fellow Texan, George W. Bush, for defending Muslims in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“I had a lot of disagreements with George W. Bush on policy, but I was very proud after 9/11 when he was adamant and clear about the fact that this is not a war on Islam,” Obama said. “And the notion that some of those who have taken on leadership in his party would ignore all of that, that’s not who we are.”

Newsletters
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.
Latest Livewire
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: