- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday said that President Obama was not standing up for Muslim-Americans or any Americans with his demand to bring thousands of Syrian refugees to the United States.

Delivering a national security speech in Washington, D.C., Mr. Christie said that he understood Muslim-Americans because his state has one of the largest Muslim-American populations in the county.

“Muslim-Americans are not nearly that sensitive as some of the people in opinion places here in Washington or at the White House think they are,” Mr. Christie said at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“They are Muslim-Americans, and they understand that the safety and security of their families are at risk just as 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 is not secure,” he said. “This is common sense.”

Mr. Obama’s plan to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees faces fierce resistance form governors and lawmakers, who raise concerns about terrorist embedded among the refugees.

A bill to block the plan is working its way through Congress after passing the House with a veto-proof majority. Mr. Obama has vowed to veto the bill.

Mr. Christie is polling near the bottom of a crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls. With the new focus on national security in the race following the Islamic State attack on Paris on Nov. 13, he has tried to make his experience as a U.S. attorney in New Jersey prosecuting terrorism cases following Sept. 11, 2001, a central argument for his candidacy.

Mr. Christie blasted the president for ignoring the advice of FBI Director James Comey, who has said the U.S. does not have the capability to screen out terrorists from the refugees.

“I don’t care any less about the widows and orphans of the Syrian war than the president does. Not one bit less. But my focus is different than his,” Mr. Christie said. “My focus is on the widows and orphans in the United States. My focus is on the widows and orphans of September 11th.”

He said he is surrounded by those 9/11 widows and orphans in New Jersey, and “their pain is no less today than it was 14 years ago.”

“The goal and intent of the American president has to be first and foremost to prevent another generation of those widows and orphans on American soil. That must be your top priority and your first priority as president of the United States,” Mr. Christie said.

Mr. Christie later added that Mr. Obama has “lost focus, and that’s why he’s lost support.”

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