Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Thursday that a safe zone in Syria was the best way to combat the refugee crisis after President Barack Obama said that the United States would accept 10,000 over the next fiscal year.
"The concept of a safe zone maybe makes more sense than anything, where all of the countries and not just us foot the bill," the billionaire developer told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News. "We are always footing everybody's bill. Nobody else gets involved. Nobody else pays."
Trump was among a number of GOP contenders who commented on Obama's plan, which would start with the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. So far this fiscal year, about 1,500 refugees have been allowed into the country.
He slammed Obama for not taking strong steps after Syrian President Bashar Assad crossed his "red line" in 2013 regarding the use of chemical weapons and said that more Arab Gulf countries should also accept refugees.
"I can understand why he wants to take 10,000 because, on a humanitarian basis, it is just a horrible thing to witness and to watch," Trump said of the president. "Had he gone across the line — the artificial line that he drew in the sand — had he done that, I think he probably would have had a much different situation today."
"But, look at other countries. You look at the Gulf States, they are not taking any," Trump added. "They won't take one."
But former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush applauded Obama's decision, saying that it reflected a "rich, noble tradition of supporting refugees all across the world."
"Think of the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese that came to our country, and they've added a vitality to our country that is undeniable," the former Florida governor told Jake Tapper on CNN. "We have a tradition of doing this, and I think we have an obligation to do that and to support the displaced people that right now are suffering — and these tragic pictures are real.
"This is not a made-up game," Bush said.
He called for a broader strategy for Syria, which included removing Assad and destroying Islamic State terrorists.
"We talked about how you build a no-fly zone, where you create safe zones for the building of a moderate force that needs to be supported by Europe, and by the Arab nations, trained by America, and where our air superiority can create an environment where we can take out ISIS and take out Assad."
In addition, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also supported the president's move on humanitarian grounds but said they needed to be screened carefully by Homeland Security personnel.
"I do believe America should not be the country that says no we will not accept these refugees that, by the way, this president had a hand in creating," he told Bret Baier on Fox News.
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