Bush: It's 'not divisive' for Obama to speak at mosque
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Jeb Bush on Thursday defended President Obama's visit to a mosque this week after his Republican presidential rival Marco Rubio and Donald Trump criticized the president.
"I don't think it's divisive to go speak in a mosque. I'm surprised it took his eighth year to do it," Bush told reporters after a campaign stop in New Hampshire, according to multiple reports.
The former Florida governor echoed Obama's call for religious tolerance, but sharply criticized his approach to Islamic militants, in particular the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
"The bigger issue is what have you done to deal with ISIS. It's important to recognize that peace-loving Muslims who are American citizens are as American as you and I are, but at the same time, this president has been derelict in his duties to destroy the caliphate," Bush said.
Rubio on Wednesday accused Obama of "pitting people against each other" with his rhetoric while visiting a mosque in Baltimore earlier in the day.
Trump, who received widespread criticism in December for his proposal to ban Muslims from the U.S., suggested Wednesday night that Obama "feels comfortable" at a mosque.
Bush said Thursday that "discrimination in America is bad and the threat of ISIS is real."
“You can believe in both, which is why I don’t criticize the president to go to a mosque and to assure that people they shouldn’t be discriminated against. I think that is more than appropriate as the leader of our country," he said.