Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie blasted President Barack Obama Tuesday, saying the president continues to dangerously underestimate the threat posed by Islamic State militants despite the Paris attacks.
“This is a cult of evil, everyone,” he said of the Islamic State group in a speech Tuesday to the Council on Foreign Relations. Christie called the Obama administration’s approach to the threat “naive and gravely dangerous.”
The New Jersey governor, who was a federal prosecutor during the 9/11 attacks, has long highlighted his resume as he tries to stand out in the Republican presidential field, especially during the heated debate over the expiration of the Patriot Act. But his arguments have found new urgency after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more, stoking new fears about potential attacks in the United States and a fierce debate about how the country should handle Syrian refugees. He is hoping the renewed focus on national security will help him revive his lagging campaign.
Christie is against allowing Syrian refugees into the country, even saying orphans under 5 should not be permitted. And he’s dismissed Obama’s assurances that Syrian refugees are subjected to a rigorous, years-long process, citing congressional testimony from FBI Director James Comey that information available on those seeking entry is often limited.
“We cannot allow ourselves at a time of great peril to put ourselves voluntarily at even greater risk just because there are some folks who believe that it’ll make our country look better,” Christie said. And he argued that Muslim-Americans will support his approach.
“What I’ll tell you is that Muslim-Americans are not nearly that sensitive, not nearly as sensitive as some of the people in opinion places here in Washington or in the White House believe they are,” he said. “They’re Muslim-Americans and they understand that the safety and security of their family is at risk just the way the safety and security of Catholics are at risk, Protestants are at risk, Buddhists are at risk, when the American homeland is not safe and not secure.”
He also said he’d be willing to reconsider his approach to the refugees— if Comey can convince him the vetting is thorough.
Like so much of Christie’s approach, he also got personal, speaking emotionally of his own experience on Sept. 11, 2001, when he spent five-and-a-half hours desperately trying to reach his wife, Mary Pat, who worked in lower Manhattan. He also spoke about friends he lost that day.
“The goal and the intent of the American president has to be first and foremost to prevent another generation of those widows and orphans on American soil,” he said.
Without referring by name to rival political outsiders like Donald Trump, or first-term senators like Florida’s Marco Rubio, Christie also warned about electing a candidate who is untested to the White House, as appealing as something new may seem.
“New seems fabulous until the moment comes when you need experience,” he said.
A super PAC promoting Christie is broadcasting ads contrasting Christie’s approach to foreign policy with that of Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. The group, America Leads, has reserved $6.5 million in commercial airtime this week through the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9, adding to $7.2 million it had already spent on TV, advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG shows.
The Associated Press contributed to this article
Impeach the traitor. Congress are a dog pile of sissies. Stop letting the traitor rape the people. Congress aren’t you suppose to be on the Americans side. We the people who trusted the promises our so called American leaders made under oath has given us no hope from them.
Sounds good…let’s ask him how many he has already settled in NJ cities…wonder if Mendham is one?
Won’t make any difference what is said. Freedom of expression is dead.
Tell me, Christie, What in the blazes took you so long to decide Obama’s refugees are dangerous?? You should have asked some of the populace, they could have told you. Evidently you’re missing a lot of Clinton and Obama’s machinations. We DO know the liberal press is controlled by the White House, we DO know there are at least 50 reasons he could have been impeached plus the 75 abuses of presidential power. So tell me again, Christie WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?? How long do we the people have to wait before our brain dead, gutless wonders in Washington impeach that man?? Why do you think the public is tired of liberals, democrats ands RINO’S?? WHY do you think we want no more “professional politicians ” running for office?? As for the GOP aiding and abetting the Obama media, we will be sure not to vote for any of you again. We are tired of dirty and corrupt politics!! See where it has landed a once great nation!!
jdp… Does the vetting of refugees require a lie detector test? Could hypnosis be used on refugees to tell the truth?
Our govt is supposed to be looking out for American citizens, not pre-occupied with illegal immigrants or so called “refugees! The ME countries will not even let other religions in much less refugees from other nations in. Should anyone be foolish enough to wish to immigrate to a nation where tyranny rules!