The deadly gun and bomb attacks in Paris on Friday night prompted stern responses from Republican presidential candidates, with Jeb Bush calling them a war on the West and Ben Carson saying Syrian refugees should be barred entry into the United States.
Republicans attending the Florida Republican Party’s Sunshine Summit stood and bowed their heads for a moment of silence for the Paris victims. Candidates offered their prayers.
“This is a war being created by Islamic terrorists,” Bush told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt. “This is an organized effort to destroy Western civilization. And we need to lead in this regard…This is the war of our time.”
Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush who ordered the U.S. into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in which hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers were killed, said the United States should reinvigorate U.S. alliances in the Middle East and rebuild its counter-intelligence capabilities in response.
Gunmen and bombers attacked busy restaurants, bars and a concert hall in the French capital, in what a shaken President Francois Hollande described as an unprecedented terrorist attack.
Retired neurosurgeon Carson told reporters the Paris attacks, in which 140 people were killed, “reminds us that there are those out there who have a thirst for innocent blood in an attempt to spread their philosophy and their will across this globe.”
“We must redouble our efforts and our resolve to resist them, not only to contain them, but to eliminate that kind of hatred in the world,” he said.
Carson said refugees from the conflict in Syria and Iraq should not be allowed into the United States.
“To bring them here when we have tens of millions of people who are suffering economically doesn’t make any economic sense,” he said.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, another candidate seeking his party’s nomination to run for the White House in the November 2016 election, said Americans should stand with the people of France and help the French government find those responsible.
“We cannot let those who seek to disrupt our way of life succeed. We must increase our efforts at home and abroad to improve our defenses, destroy terrorist networks, and deprive them of the space from which to operate,” Rubio said in a statement.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a hawk on U.S. national security, called the Paris attacks “an attack on human decency and all things that we hold dear.”
(Reporting By Steve Holland; editing by Grant McCool)