Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz on Sunday took aim at President Obama's foreign policy in the wake of the Brussels terror bombings, calling the president's policies a "manifest disaster" and saying the U.S. "needs a commander in chief who will lead."
Cruz has specifically targeted Obama’s plans to allows refugees from war-torn Syria into the United States and has argued that U.S. law enforcement should have more authority to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighborhoods before their residents become radicalized.
“Enough is enough,” Cruz told “Fox News Sunday.” “We need a commander in chief who will protect this nation. … This is a policy of weakness and appeasement.”
Cruz’s original comments were quickly criticized by Obama, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, the New York City police department and others.
And NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton wrote an op-ed in the New York Daily News on Sunday in which he said the department already patrols and secures Muslim neighborhoods but doesn’t engage in “selective enforcement” based on race or religion.
“Nor will we use the police and an occupying force to intimidate a populace or a religion to appease the provocative chatter of politicians seeking to exploit fear,” he wrote.“We already patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods, the same way we patrol and secure other neighborhoods."
Authorities have linked one of the Brussels attackers to the deadly Paris bombings in November, with ISIS claiming responsibility for both strikes.
Cruz pointed out the terror group has vowed to try to slip its fighters into the Syrian refugee program, which could increase the risk of a terror attacks on U.S. soil.
Cruz also said Europe’s immigration policies, which have allowed millions of Muslim refugees to enter the region, have created a "hotbed of racialization."
“We cannot become Europe,” he said.
Cruz said that in calling for stepped-up policing in Muslim neighborhoods he meant addressing problems by using "every tool" including law enforcement, the military abroad and the country's national security and intelligence communities.
He also condemned GOP rival Donald Trump's attack on Cruz's wife, Heidi, and a tabloid story suggesting Cruz might have had extramarital affairs.
“Attacks on a spouse have no place in politics,” Cruz said.
He added that Trump’s recent suggestion that the U.S. withdraw from NATO would be a huge mistake and shows his “lack of understanding” of foreign policy. He claimed such a move would be a “massive victory” for both Russian President Vladimir Putin and ISIS.