Sen. Cory Gardner On What’s Next After Paris Terrorist Attacks

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Photo: Sen. Cory Gardner (AP Photo)
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, in July 2015.

Last Friday in Paris, 132 people were killed and scores were injured in a coordinated series of terrorist attacks that the French government linked to ringleaders said to be in Syria. Since then, 24 governors, mostly Republicans, have said they don't want to take in Syrian refugees.

Colorado's Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said Monday that the state would not turn away refugees. "We will work with the federal government and Homeland Security to ensure the national verification processes for refugees are as stringent as possible," he said. "We can protect our security and provide a place where the world’s most vulnerable can rebuild their lives."

Colorado Matters put these issues and others to Colorado's Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

"The bottom line is this: We need to know who's coming into this country," Gardner said. "All of us owe our constituencies the due diligence of making sure the people coming into this country will not do them harm."

Gardner spoke with Ryan Warner. Click the audio player above to hear their conversation, and read highlights below.

On where Syrian refugees should go:

"Regardless of how many refugees Europe takes in, or how many refugees the United States takes in, it will be a simple scratch on the surface of the millions and millions of people who are displaced from Syria. So until we actually solve the problem of the Syrian refugees, it doesn't matter how many refugees are taken in around the globe because there will still be millions more."

On what the U.S. should do in Syria:

"The White House hasn't developed a clear strategy on how to defeat ISIS. In recent days, the president has said 'we will continue what we're doing and redouble our efforts.' Well, that strategy has resulted in bombings in Beirut, a tragedy in Paris, a shooting down of a Russian jet over Egypt. [...]

"We have to work with Syria to create a humanitarian zone. I think that's important. ... That would basically be a no-fly zone where the displaced people of Syria would have a place to go where they were safe, they weren't in harm's way, they weren't going to be barrel-bombed by the Assad regime, they weren't going to be attacked by ISIS. It's a safe place for the people of Syria to go. That would help address the refugee crisis and provide stability to the people of Syria."

On the movement by Western governments to stop calling ISIS by that name:

"It doesn't matter what you call them. They are evil. They are carrying out heinous acts against the civilized world. I don't think if you called them ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, or whatever you're going to call them, it's not like they are going to stop committing these atrocious acts. They have to be defeated; they have to be destroyed. That's the only way we're going to get them to stop."