Billionaire Donald Trump warned Syrian refugees not to come to the United States because it’s “too cold” for them, especially during the winter. Trump made the remarks while addressing voters in Knoxville, Tennessee, Nov. 16.
“A friend of mine lives in Minnesota and he says, ‘Can you imagine? It’s 130 degrees in Syria and now they want to send some of them up to Minnesota where it’s 30 degrees,” said Trump. “These people are going to be very, very unhappy. It’s cold. It’s beautiful but it’s cold.”
In October 2015, a group of refugees had complained about being housed in the Swedish woods because it’s “too cold and scary,” Digital Journal reported. “We don’t understand why they’ve taken us to the forest where it’s so dark and so cold,” said Syrian refugee Abdullah Waez. “We don’t want to live like this, in the middle of nowhere.”
Trump, who previously supported granting asylum to Muslim refugees from Syria, Iran and Afghanistan, changed his mind after the Nov. 13 Paris terrorist attacks that killed 129 people and injured 350.
Trump said it makes no sense for the U.S. to house, feed, and provide job training for refugees when so many American military veterans are homeless, unemployed and get inadequate medical care.
In some European refugee camps, asylum seekers reportedly refused food aid because the meals were not halal (see video).
In addition to inevitable cultural (and culinary) clashes, Trump is worried because the government cannot properly vet Syrian refugees for possible terrorist ties. “We have a president who wants to take hundreds of thousands of people, and we don’t even know who they are,” said Trump, who recently lost 15 pounds on the campaign trail.
President Barack Obama has agreed to accept 10,000 Muslim refugees in 2016, and up to 200,000 over the next two years. In October 2015, FBI Director James Comey told the House Committee on Homeland Security the federal government does not have the ability to conduct thorough background checks on all the Syrian refugees Obama wants to admit into the country.
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, has made similar arguments, saying Syrian refugees would be displaced culturally, linguistically, religiously and climatically by settling in the United States.
“We would be bringing people in who lived in the desert their entire lives, and they would be completely disrupted, not only in terms of their culture, their language, their religion, my gosh even in terms of their climate,” Huckabee told Fox Radio.
As European countries like Germany and Sweden take in hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees, the super-rich Arab states of the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) have offered housing to none of their Muslim brethren.
“Guess how many of these Syrian refugees Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states offered to take?” asked Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Zero.” Ironically, the Gulf States have cited concerns over financial problems, social unrest, and terrorism for their refusal to house Muslim refugees.