Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET
Following the attacks in Belgium on Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) renewed his call for the United States to stop accepting refugees from Syria.
“We need to immediately halt the President’s ill-advised plan to bring in tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees. Our vetting programs are woefully insufficient,” Cruz said during a press conference in Washington, D.C.
The Republican presidential candidate said that the U.S. must “implement serious vetting” and should not let anyone into the country unless they can be sure they aren’t “radical Islamic terrorists.”
Cruz also bashed President Obama’s approach to combatting terrorism.
“In the wake of Brussels we don’t need another lecture from President Obama on Islamophobia. We need a commander in chief who does everything necessary to defeat the enemy,” he said.
The Texas senator bashed Obama for being on a trip to Cuba as Belgium deals with deadly attacks and said that the President should be in the United States or on his way to Brussels.
“While our friend and allies are attacked by radical islamic terrorists, President Obama is spending his time going to baseball games with the Castros and standing at a press conference with Raul Castro as a prop while Castro denies there are any political prisoners in Cuba,” Cruz said.
He noted that Obama did not go to Paris following the attacks there, calling it “a visual manifestation of President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s retreat from the world.” Cruz then compared Obama and Clinton’s policies to those proposed by Donald Trump, who on Monday said the U.S. should reevaluate its role in NATO.
“I would note that retreat from the world, the Obama-Clinton retreat from the world, is very much the retreat from the world Donald Trump is advocating. Even Barack Obama hasn’t gone so far as arguing for withdrawal from NATO the way Donald Trump has,” Cruz said on Tuesday.
While discussing U.S. immigration policies, Cruz claimed that one of the San Bernardino shooters publicly discussed jihad on social media, even though the report on the shooter’s social media use was corrected to reflect that she sent private messages.
“I would note, you look at the San Bernardino terrorists. The female terrorist publicly had posted on social media calls to jihad. Yet the Obama administration, in yet another nod to political correctness refused even to look to social media,” Cruz said on Tuesday. “That is an example of the myopia of this administration. And it’s politically driven. It’s not that they cannot see the threats of terrorism, it’s that they have refuse to look at, acknowledge, or name the threats of terrorism because it is inconsistent with their political objectives.”
Cruz also said that the U.S. should take a look at its visa waver program, which provides faster entry to the U.S. to European citizens.
“The attack in Brussels is in many ways the fruit of a failed immigration policy in Europe that has allowed a massive influx of radical Islamic terrorists into Europe. Europe is in the process of allowing policies to fundamentally threaten the safety and security of its citizens. That is a mistake,” he said. “The visa waiver program was designed for a different era when those from Europe were not perceived to be threats.”