MANILA, Philippines (AP) — President Barack Obama lashed out Wednesday at Republicans who insist on barring Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., deeming their words offensive and insisting “it needs to stop.”
“Apparently they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,” Obama said.
Mocking GOP leaders for thinking they’re tough, Obama said overblown rhetoric from Republicans could be a potent recruitment tool for the Islamic State group. He insisted the U.S. process for screening refugees for possible entry into the U.S. is rigorous and said the U.S. doesn’t make good decisions “based on hysteria” or exaggerated risk.
“We are not well served when in response to a terrorist attack we descend into fear and panic,” the president said.
Obama’s comments during a meeting with Philippine President Benigno Aquino marked his harshest condemnation yet of Republicans’ response to the Paris attacks blamed on IS that killed 129 people last week. Republicans in Congress and on the 2016 presidential trail have urged an immediate closure of America’s borders to Syrian refugees, but the Obama administration has shown no sign of backing off its plans to bring an additional 10,000 Syrians fleeing civil war into the U.S.