Ted Cruz: Obama wants to allow "jihadists who are coming to murder innocent Americans" into the country

Obama's plan for Syrian refugees "would be the height of foolishness," best to leave them in "Muslim countries"

Published October 6, 2015 1:21PM (EDT)

  (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
(AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

In a campaign stop Monday at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz told a crowd of 800 that President Barack Obama's plan to allow up to 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States "is nothing short of crazy," MLive's Jonathan Oosting reports.

It's unclear why Cruz took such a hard line in Michigan, whose Republican governor said of the president's proposal last week that "I don't want to overreact to say it's a certain number, or we're going to do this, but I think it's worth exploring and making sure we have a program and do that homework. Isn't that part of being a good Michigander?"

The Texas senator struck a decidedly different note, saying that "it would be the height of foolishness to bring in tens of thousands of people, including jihadists who are coming here to murder innocent Americans."

"With respect to the refugees, it is a humanitarian crisis, but they ought to be settled in the Middle East, in majority Muslim countries."

Many in the crowd were entranced, both by the speech and the speaker, in part because the latter has demonstrated that he's willing to back his words with legislative-halting actions -- even though his attempt to shutter the federal government last week over Planned Parenthood was ultimately unsuccessful.

That wasn't quite how Cruz interpreted it, however, chiding his GOP competitors for failing to appear in Washington to support his efforts. "We had an epic drag-down knock-down battle in Washington, and I've got a simple question for the other candidates," he said. "Where were they?"

By Scott Eric Kaufman

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Anti-immigration Elections 2016 Michigan Rick Snyder Syrian Refugees Ted Cruz