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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he does not support blocking Syrian refugees from seeking asylum in the U.S., putting him at odds with many Republicans over the role the nation should play in dealing with the threat of terror.

In a Tuesday interview with Bloomberg Politics, Bush said he has concerns with whether the Obama administration is capable of pulling off its plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country over the next year, but that the appropriate response isn’t a full-scale ban on refugees from troubled Middle Eastern countries.

{mosads}“I think people are legitimately concerned about the efficiency, the competency of the Obama administration, as it relates to screening processes,” Bush said. “But we have systems in place — if there is any kind of concern, we shouldn’t allow people in. But I don’t think we should eliminate support for refugees. It’s been a noble tradition in our country for many years.”

The House is expected to vote this week on a bill that would temporarily halt Obama’s plan to allow the refugees into the U.S.

Meanwhile, 28 governors — 27 of them Republicans — have said they would seek to block Syrian refugees from settling in their states over fears that terrorists could infiltrate the nation in the wake of last week’s mass killing in Paris, France.

Two Republican senators running for president, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), say they plan to put forth bills aimed at stopping the flow of refugees.

Cruz’s bill would ban all Muslim Syrian refugees from entering the country. 

Bush, also a Republican presidential candidate, said Tuesday that’s not the appropriate response.

“I don’t [agree],” he said. “The answer to this … is not to ban people from coming. The answer is to lead to resolve the problem in Syria. That’s the ultimate answer and that’s my focus.”

While Bush is not opposed to allowing some Muslim refugees in the country, he has called on the U.S. to single out Christians in Syria for special assistance, and has said the U.S. should look to create a safe haven for refugees abroad rather than bringing them all here.

“There should be really thorough screening and we should focus on creating safe havens for refugees in Syria rather than bringing them all the way across to the United States,” Bush said Monday on “CBS This Morning.”

“But I do think there is a special important need to make sure that Christians from Syria are being protected because they are being slaughtered in the country and but for us, who? Who would take care of the number of Christians that right now are completely displaced?” Bush asked.

Bush on Tuesday also ripped GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, saying the real estate mogul’s response to the terror attacks in France is evidence that he cannot be trusted as commander in chief.

Trump has said he would “bomb the s**t” out of the radical Islamists; has vowed to steal the oil from the terrorists who profit from it; has called for the nation to buy land in the Middle East where the refugees can live; and has advocated spying on mosques in the U.S., and potentially shuttering those with extreme messages.

“Donald Trump’s been all over the map on the question of ISIS,” Bush said, referring to the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks last Friday. “[Trump] at one point said let Russia take ISIS out and then he said let ISIS take [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad out. Now he wants to bomb ISIS. He doesn’t want to send — he doesn’t want to create a strategy and have the United States military lead an effort. It’s a pretty good example of why he can’t be trusted being president of the United States, in my mind.”

Bush also sought to draw a distinction between his views on foreign policy, and those of White House hopefuls Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), describing himself as “more consistent” and “less bellicose” than his GOP rivals.

Bush hit both men for not backing President Obama’s request to Congress for military intervention in Syria in the fall of 2013.

“Both of them voted against the authorization of force when … well, one didn’t vote because it never got to the floor, and one in Foreign Relations Committee voted against the president’s authorization of force,” Bush recalled. “And now Marco has got a different reason why he did it, but back then it was he didn’t think that we had an interest there.

“Some of this just relates to life experience,” Bush continued. “Look, I’ve lived — 62 years old. I’ve gone through good time and bad. I’ve seen — I’ve had to make difficult decisions across the board.”

Bush has sought to lead the field of GOP presidential contenders in his response to the terror attacks in France.

He’s been blanketing the airwaves, urging the White House to declare war on ISIS, pushing for more troops in the region and calling for a no-fly zone in Syria.

On Wednesday, Bush will speak to The Citadel military academy in Charleston, S.C., on the threat of terror and the U.S. role in the Middle East.


Tags Donald Trump Jeb Bush Marco Rubio Paris attacks Syria Ted Cruz

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