Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said, on Tuesday, following the terrorist attacks in Belgium, “Radical Islam is at war with us.”
Speaking in Washington, D.C., the Republican presidential candidate said that “a failed immigration policy in Europe” has allowed terrorists to conduct their attacks on the continent and called for the U.S. to discontinue allowing any Syrian refugees into the country.
“This is not an isolated war. This is not a lone wolf,” Cruz said. “This is a war with radical Islamic terrorism.”
He added: “It is long past time that we have a president who will acknowledge this evil, who will call it by its name and utilize the full force and fury of the United States to destroy radical Islamic terrorism.”
At least 31 people were killed on Tuesday when explosions rocked the Brussels airport and subway system. A spokesman for the Brussels Metro said at least 15 people were killed and 55 injured in an explosion on a train, and Belgian media reported that at least 13 were dead in two explosions at the airport, with many others injured.
Cruz said that Obama should immediately return to the U.S. from his trip to Cuba to discuss with European leaders to discuss how to tackle the latest terrorist attack. Obama flew to Cuba on Sunday on a historic visit to the communist island and is scheduled to travel later today to Argentina.
“While our friends and allies are being attacked by terrorists, President Obama is going to baseball games with the Castros,” he said. “President Obama should be back in the country keeping America safe, or President Obama should be on his way to Brussels.”
During the press conference, the Texas lawmaker also criticized his fellow GOP candidate, Donald Trump, for advocating that the U.S. withdraw from NATO. The organization is based in Brussels.
“The Obama-Clinton retreat from the world is very much like the retreat that Donald Trump is advocating,” he said.
For his part, Trump told Fox News on Tuesday that the city of Brussels is "a total disaster" and added that he's warned about such attacks taking place.
Speaking to the media as developments were still unfolding in Belgium, Trump said "Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime, and now it's a disaster city."
Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims coming to the United States following the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, in November and December respectively. He has previously called Brussels a "hellhole."
While Obama was addressing the Cuban people on television from Havana, Trump took to Twitter to slam the president for not returning to the U.S. following the Brussels attacks.
The other Republican candidate still in the race, John Kasich, said he is "sickened by the pictures of the carnage" from Brussels.
The Ohio governor said in a statement Tuesday that the global community must "redouble" efforts to "identify, root out and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.