Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski clashed on Morning Joe on Tuesday over whether the United States is able to vet Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the country.
King, who is a member of the Homeland Security Committee and chairman of its Sub-committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, stated, “We cannot vet the refugees from Syria. There are no databases to work against, no government records,” he said. “People talk about ‘thorough vetting.’ There is no vetting as a practical matter.”
“Hold on one second,” Brzezinski interjected. “There is vetting. There are face-to-face interviews, there are health screenings, often it takes two years for a family to get here.”
“No, Mika you are entirely wrong,” King fired back.
“Actually sir, I think you’re wrong,” she retorted. “The vetting is happening, whether you like it or not.”
“You are wrong Mika, you are 1000 percent wrong!” King said and then spelled out “W-R-O-N-G” to add an exclamation point.
“So should we say, ‘Syrians, stay out of America, you’re not welcome here?’” asked the MSNBC co-host.
“Mika, we’re not saying Syrians. We’re saying these refugees. Unless we know who the refugees are, we cannot be allowing them in,” King replied. “My job is to protect Americans, not to feel good about myself, not to say that I’m doing something humanitarian. If Americans get killed because we are letting people in because they are not properly vetted — they cannot be properly vetted.”
Joe Scarborough then jumped in the conversation questioning why they cannot be properly screened. “There are no databases whatsoever. They have no records to base it against,” said King. “They have no idea who these people are. A person could say he is John Jones. They don’t know who he is, and I’m talking to people at the highest level.”
As a representative from New York City area, King said he feels a particular duty to insist on security being the paramount factor regarding how to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. Knowing that ISIS has the “capacity” to hide terrorist among refugees, who does not want to take the chance of allowing anyone in “who is going to be killing people in the New York subway system or Bloomingdales or Macy’s, or attack the Thanksgiving day parade.”