CNN's Cuomo Frets US Will 'Help ISIS' by Barring Refugees, 'Blaming the Victims'

On Tuesday's New Day on CNN, as co-host Chris Cuomo debated Republican Rep. Steve King on whether Syrian refugees should be allowed into the U.S., the CNN host absurdly suggested that barring refugees might "help ISIS" because it would be "playing into ISIS's hands" by "showing that you are against these people who are desperate."

As he closed the interview for breaking news, he also got in a last-minute dig as he suggested that opponents of bringing refugees to America were "blaming the victims."

Cuomo began the segment by noting that most Americans agree with efforts to block immigration from Syria before recalling that Canada has decided to take in some of the refugees. Challenging Rep. King, the CNN host posed:

We got a headline today. Canada says, "Well, we're going to let them in. I mean, that's what it's about. We have a humanitarian spirit. There's risk in all things. We believe there's less risk here." Why doesn't that logic carry through to the United States?

After devoting his second question to arguing that Syrian refugees are vetted more stringently that immigrants from other countries, in his third question, the CNN host suggested that barring the refugees from Syria would "help ISIS." Cuomo:

I just don't see the factual basis for excluding an entire class of desperate people. Isn't there another way? Isn't there a compromise? And if we don't do that, and if we do what this bill suggests, aren't you afraid that you're playing into ISIS's hands and showing that you are afraid, and showing that you are against these people who are desperate? Doesn't that help ISIS?

After Rep. King argued in favor of establishing safe zones in neighboring Muslim countries and defeating ISIS so the displaced can return home, Cuomo pushed again:

But hasn't the promise of America always been that if you're looking for a better life, let alone if you're running for your life, that you can come here? And the vetting, as you know, these refugees, no group coming to this country gets vetted more than these Syrian refugees. Why can't they find a home here as well?

After Rep. King recalled the ideology of radical Islam encouraging followers to kill infidels to get to heaven, Cuomo brought up the bogus argument that opponents of refugee resettlement in America are somehow "blaming the victim" as he concluded the segment:

CHRIS CUOMO: We understand the madness. The question is, is the solution to blame the victims? But, Steve, Representative, let's leave it there for now because we have some breaking news out of Paris. I appreciate you making the case.

REP. STEVE KING: (INAUDIBLE) -identify the true victims, Chris.

CUOMO: Understood. Congressman King, thank you. Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Appreciate having you on New Day.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, November 24, New Day on CNN:

8:19 a.m.
CHRIS CUOMO: Welcome back to New Day. Syrian refugees: desperate, innocent? Or terrorists in waiting? The House passed a bill blocking refugees effectively. Polling shows you agree. Now, here's the question: Does the fear match the facts?

Congressman Steve King represents Iowa and sits on the House Judiciary Committee. He joins us now. Always good to see you, Congressman. We got a headline today. Canada says, "Well, we're going to let them in. I mean, that's what it's about. We have a humanitarian spirit. There's risk in all things. We believe there's less risk here." Why doesn't that logic carry through to the United States?

[REP. STEVE KING (R-IA) argues that there is no database that makes it possible to do an effective background check on people from Syria, and that a portion of those who come to the U.S. would end up being terrorists. He also argues it would be less expensive and better to resettle them in neighboring Muslim countries.]

CUOMO: All right, points of pushback: One, we are only dealing with the overflow, as you know. The overwhelming majority of those who are fleeing Syria have gone to neighboring countries. We're taking but a fraction. Two, if you're going to make the case that, well, "If we can't vet them completely, they shouldn't get in," then there are a lot of other populations you should start with before the Syrian refugees because you have less vetting of other groups of immigrants, and you have much less favorable statistics of what happens once they get here. You know Syrian refugees, you can almost point to not a single fact that has been shown to make them a threat in this country.

REP. KING: Well, I would say, instead of that, we have at least 72 in this country that have been convicted of or charged with terrorism that the administration refuses to give the Senate inquiry the immigration information on them. And we know that in the last three or four days, up to 13 Syrians have been caught trying to sneak across into our southern border, some of them with false identification papers. We know that ISIS has directed them to infiltrate into the refugees. And, by the way, we also have the imams that are preaching in the mosques, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, for migrants to go flow into Western Europe, go into the United States, build your enclaves there, don't co-mingle with the broader population, and spread their version of civilization in these countries.

There's no assimilation taking place here, and no one has shown me an example of people from that part of the world of people who have assimilated into the broader society. And so, what we're about here is building a culture in America that honors Americanism. People that want to come here to become American and can contribute to this country, we should welcome them, but if they can't begin to show signs that they'll assimilate, then not.

CUOMO: 785,000 refugees have come into the United States since 9/11. About a dozen have been arrested or removed because they were involved in terrorism. That's a 1 in 100,000 chance of someone being affiliated with terror. So certainly you do have a picture of refugees coming here to do exactly what you call "Americanism," which is coming here, escaping the desperate situations, raising their families.

I just don't see the factual basis for excluding an entire class of desperate people. Isn't there another way? Isn't there a compromise? And if we don't do that, and if we do what this bill suggests, aren't you afraid that you're playing into ISIS's hands and showing that you are afraid, and showing that you are against these people who are desperate? Doesn't that help ISIS?

[REP. KING recalls that he has visited predominantly Muslim neighborhoods in places like Dearborn, Michigan, and Europe, and refugee camps near ISIS, and has seen refugees who have escaped Syria, and he supports establishing safe zones and defeating ISIS so refugees can return home.]

But hasn't the promise of America always been that if you're looking for a better life, let alone if you're running for your life, that you can come here? And the vetting, as you know, these refugees, no group coming to this country gets vetted more than these Syrian refugees. Why can't they find a home here as well?

REP. KING: Well, Chris, we're talking about 10,000 out of maybe 4.5 million Syrian, Iraqi refugees, and maybe another 10 million altogether. Roughly 15 million is the largest number I've seen on this. It is a small amount. It is a drop in the bucket, but we're in a new world. We have global terrorism that wants to kill people who are not like them. They believe it's their path to salvation and killing, especially Christians, but the infidels as they say, And they believe that they can go to heaven if they kill us, especially if they're killed as a martyr.

CUOMO: We understand the madness. The question is, is the solution to blame the victims? But, Steve, Representative, let's leave it there for now because we have some breaking news out of Paris. I appreciate you making the case.

REP. KING: (INAUDIBLE) -identify the true victims, Chris.

CUOMO: Understood. Congressman King, thank you. Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Appreciate having you on New Day.

Congress Europe Middle East Syria Immigration War on Terrorism Religion Islam CNN New Day Steve King Chris Cuomo


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