WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama issued a Thanksgiving address welcoming refugees on Thursday and spent part of his holiday calling troops to thank them for their service.
“In 1620, a small band of pilgrims came to this continent, refugees who had fled persecution and violence in their native land,” Obama said. “Nearly 400 years later, we remember their part in the American story — and we honor the men and women who helped them in their time of need.”
Obama’s address comes amid an impassioned political discussion regarding the U.S. welcoming Syrian refugees following the Paris terror attacks. Obama has pledged to welcome 10,000 refugees, but some GOP politicians have criticized the move. Governors of both parties have also vowed to turn back Syrian refugees. The House passed a bill last week that would suspend the program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until key national security agencies certify they don’t pose a security risk.
“Now, people should remember that no refugee can enter our borders until they undergo the highest security checks of anyone traveling to the United States. That was the case before Paris, and it’s the case now,” Obama said.
The President also took time on Thanksgiving to phone U.S. troops, as well as tweet his thanks.
“Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Today, we give thanks for all of our loved ones and the brave men and women in uniform who serve our country,” Obama tweeted.
“Today is a reminder to be thankful for what we have, and share our blessings by helping others. –mo,” first lady Michelle Obama tweeted.
The first family also partook in a traditional Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, after serving the homeless the night before.
On the White House menu:
- Thyme roasted turkey
- Garlic jus and cranberry-orange relish
- Honey-baked ham with apricot-mustard glaze
- Prime rib and creamed horseradish
- Cornbread stuffing with chorizo and roasted peppers oyster stuffing
- Braised winter greens (collards, kale and turnip greens)
- Macaroni and cheese
- Sweet potato gratin
- Yukon gold mashed potatoes
- Green bean casserole
- Fresh greens
- Kale Caesar salad
And for dessert: banana cream pie, coconut cream pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie and cherry pie.