President Obama takes to Twitter to make his case for refugees

U.S. President Barack Obama listens closely during the APEC CEO Summit in Manila, Philippines, Nov. 18, 2015. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
U.S. President Barack Obama listens closely during the APEC CEO Summit in Manila, Philippines, Nov. 18, 2015.

President Obama took to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon and posted a series of six tweets reaffirming his position that the U.S. can respond to the Syrian refugee crisis while protecting American national security against ISIS. The tweets were sent from Obama's @POTUS account and given the president's high-profile social media presence, the posts quickly garnered a flood of attention. Within three hours, the half dozen tweets had gotten more than 38,900 retweets and 58,250 hearts — and that was just on Twitter.

<div id="fb-root"></div><script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script><div class="fb-post" data-href="" data-width="500"><div class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><blockquote cite=""><p>&quot;Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That&#039;s not who we are. And it&#039;s not what we&#039;re going to do.&quot; &#x2014;President Obama: #RefugeesWelcome</p>Posted by <a href="">The White House</a> on&nbsp;<a href="">Wednesday, November 18, 2015</a></blockquote></div></div>'

The White House also posted POTUS' comments on Facebook, adding "#refugeeswelcome," a hashtag first used in September after an image of drowned 3-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi went viral. The White House brought back the hashtag to launch its "Welcoming Syrian Refugees" digital campaign Tuesday, which aims to counter the concerns that have been expressed this week by Republican presidential candidates, as well as several U.S. governors and members of Congress, that refugees present national security threats to the United States.

Tens of thousands of Americans so far have engaged with Obama's tweets and Facebook post — and that doesn't even factor in the millions reached worldwide. The use of the hashtag helped garner some extra attention, particularly as influential figures, like former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, have been using the hashtag while being featured in White House posts online.  

In the three hours after the White House posted Obama's Twitter comments on Facebook, thousands had joined the social movement showing support for Syrian refugees by using the "refugees welcome" hashtag. In total, there were more than 30,000 mentions of the hashtag since the White House began its digital campaign yesterday.