All three network morning shows on Wednesday hyped Barack Obama’s “outrage” at Republican governors and presidential candidates, “slamming” them for opposition to Syrian refugees coming to America. On Good Morning America, Jon Karl parroted, “Overnight in Manila, President Obama expressed outrage at Republican calls to keep Syrian refugees out of the United States.”
He reminded, “30 of those 31 governors who are saying they don't want the Syrian refugees in their states are Republicans. The President is accusing them of political posturing.” Karl also highlighted Hillary Clinton’s attacks: “Hillary Clinton responded to all of this with a tweet accusing the Republicans of hateful rhetoric and saying the idea of turning away refugees because of their religion is, quote, ‘a new low.’"
The ABC journalist included clips of his fight with Senator Ted Cruz. In an interview that aired Tuesday's World News, he wondered if it’s “un-American” to put restrictions on Syrian refugees. In another part of the exchange on Wednesday’s GMA, Cruz demanded of Karl: “Jon, can you say radical Islamic terrorism?”
On NBC’s Today, Peter Alexander recounted, “Early this morning, President Obama again angrily blasted the Republican rhetoric, saying he can't think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIS, and he mocked what he described as a fear of widows and orphans.”
In a follow-up report, Natalie Morales repeated the President's attack: “Speaking in the Philippines today, the President said that keeping out orphans or only admitting Christians, as some have suggested, would go against American values.”
On CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose alerted:
CHARLIE ROSE: The president this morning is also slamming critics in the U.S. who want to shut the door on Syrian refugees. He says growing anti-refugee rhetoric is offensive and a recruitment tool for ISIS.
A transcript of the November 18 GMA segment is below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: There's been such a backlash against Syrian refugees coming to the United States after the word that some of these attackers may have passed through Syria. Thirty one governors now say they don't want them living in their states. Many presidential candidates you calling for a ban or religious test. Congress moving for a moratorium on new refugees and an angry President Obama fired back overnight. Jon Karl has more on that side of the story from the White House. Good morning, Jon.
JON KARL: Good morning, George. Thirty of those 31 governors who are saying they don't want the Syrian refugees in their states are Republicans. The President is accusing them of political posturing. Overnight in Manila, President Obama expressed outrage at Republican calls to keep Syrian refugees out of the United States.
BARACK OBAMA: When candidates say we won't admit three-year-old orphans, that's political posturing. We should have a religious test and that only Christians, proven Christians should be admitted. That's offensive and contrary to American values.
KARL: While most Republican presidential candidates are calling for an outright ban on Syrian refugees, Jeb Bush says some should be allowed in the U.S.
JEB BUSH: The answer to this, though, is not to ban people from coming. The answer is to lead to resolve the problem in Syria.
KARL: Senator Ted Cruz is now proposing a bill that would ban any Syrian refugees who are Muslim. We asked Cruz to explain why. [To Karl] So, you put a religious test. You say no Muslim but we'll allow the Christians in? That's your position?
TED CRUZ: From Middle Eastern countries where ISIS and Al Qaeda have control of significant parts of those countries.
KARL: You're saying no Muslim, only Christians? Is that your position.
CRUZ: Jon, can you say radical Islamic terrorism?
KARL: I can say radical Islamic terrorism. I’m actually stating your position. Let’s be clear. You’re saying no Muslims, only Christians.
CRUZ: Christians are different in the Middle East number one because they are being persecuted and facing genocide that is qualitatively different. ISIS is crucifying —
KARL: Yeah, but Shia Muslims are getting persecuted.
CRUZ: But they’re not —
KARL: Anyone who is not with ISIS in Syria is getting persecuted and killed. [Interview ends.] Donald Trump told Barbara Walters in an interview for 20/20 he wants to ban Syrian refugees of all religions.
BARBARA WALTERS: Some people are saying that only Christian, not Muslim refugees from Syria should be allowed in. Should we make that test?
DONALD TRUMP: The problem is we don't know if they're Christian or not and I would certainly say that would be superior. But we don't know if they're Christian or not. We have no idea who the people, they have no papers, they have no paperwork. You can get forged documents very easily in Syria.
KARL: Hillary Clinton responded to all of this with a tweet accusing the Republicans of hateful rhetoric and saying the idea of turning away refugees because of their religion is, quote, “a new low.” George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jon, not only the president speaking out but White House officials really pushing back with Congress on this idea that Donald Trump just raised that we can't find out who these people are.
KARL: Absolutely. They point out there is an extensive vetting process that includes the intelligence community, the Department of the State and Homeland Security, in fact, George, it takes 18 to 24 months for a refugee to go through that process before they can step foot in the united States.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Jon, the politics of this are tough. I would imagine if a moratorium, this idea of a moratorium is put on the floor of Congress it would likely pass.
KARL: Yeah and you're starting to see some Democrats, including Chuck Schumer, very influential Democrat, saying the idea of a pause is not a bad one.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay. Jon Karl, thanks very much.
ROBIN ROBERTS: Many wouldn’t mind hitting the pause button for the time being.