President Barack Obama tore into conservatives opposing letting Syrian refugees into the country during a speech in the Philippines on Wednesday morning local time, The Hill reported.
“Apparently they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion,” Obama said. “At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.”
Obama’s remark was a shot at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who said during a radio interview on Monday that he would not even let “orphans under five” into the country.
It was also a callback to his mockery of the GOP presidential field earlier this month, when he ripped the candidates for vowing to make Russian President Vladimir Putin respect them if elected while at the same time complaining about the questions they got from CNBC hosts during a candidate debate.
“I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric coming out of here in the course of this debate,” Obama said on Wednesday. “When you start seeing individuals in position of responsibility suggesting Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land that feeds the ISIL narrative.”
Watch footage from the president’s speech, as aired by MSNBC on Tuesday, below.