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Jeb Bush: Trump's Call To Send Back Syrian Refugees "Appalling"

“I understand people believe that there’s huge potential threats here, so let’s screen them properly, but let’s don’t send people back that have been screened, who maybe only because they believe in Jesus Christ as their savior, will be beheaded."

Posted on November 23, 2015, at 1:12 p.m. ET

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Jeb Bush says that he thinks Donald Trump's promise to send back Syrian refugees is "appalling," adding that Christians who have escaped the country shouldn't be sent back "to their slaughter."

"I think it's appalling," Bush told radio host Michael Medved on Friday, when asked about Trump's position. "If we've screened refugees, if you're a Christian Syrian who but for the good fortune of escaping and crossing through ISIS territory, and crossing the Turkish border, stuck in a refugee camp, and go through the process to prove you're not an Islamic terrorist, you come to the United States, this noble country, to send them back to their slaughter? I find it appalling."

The former Florida governor went on to add that, while he understood concerns about there being "huge potential threats here," refugees shouldn't be returned to Syria to face their death.

"I understand people believe that there's huge potential threats here," he said. "So let's screen them properly, but let's don't send people back that have been screened, who maybe only because they believe in Jesus Christ as their savior, will be beheaded. I just, I reject that out of hand. I apologize."

Asked whether he felt the same way about sending back Muslim refugees, Bush said, "I don't think — if they've been screened properly, and people are satisfied with the screening process — no, not until there is a clear level of security, which only the United States can lead to create."

He added that it was "time for us to take a step forward based on the positive American values that separate us from the rest of the world and believe in our greatness again."

Earlier in the interview, Bush reiterated his view that the United States should pause its resettlement of Syrian refugees in order to determine "what kind of criteria that we need to make sure that we're safe," but that America should "support religious minorities" from the region.

"I also think it's appropriate for the United States to support religious minorities that, but for us, will die, will languish, will be beheaded, will be raped," Bush said. That's what's happening in the Middle East right now thanks to these barbaric Islamic terrorists."

Bush also addressed a question about what he would do differently if he could do-over his presidential campaign.

"I think change the perception that I felt or that the campaign felt that we were a front-runner. I've always felt — uh, I didn't anticipate that there was this perception of front-runner status because I don't really follow the process that much," he replied.

He went on to add, "And had I realized that there was a growing perception that I was a front-runner, I would've discounted that deeply because, everybody's gotta go earn it."

"I don't have to worry about that anymore," he added. "I'm certainly not the front-runner."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.