By Jesse Byrnes
Ted CruzTed CruzTrump hires ex-Cruz aide as communications director Overnight Tech: Judiciary leaders question internet transition plan | Clinton to talk tech policy | Snowden's robot | Trump's big digital push Kasich doesn't expect to speak at convention MORE is slamming Republican presidential rival Donald TrumpDonald TrumpThere are really only two branches of government Polls show tight Clinton-Trump race in 2016 battlegrounds Economic turmoil threatens Clinton MORE's call to rethink U.S. involvement in NATO in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in Brussels.
"It is striking that the day after Donald Trump called for America weakening NATO, withdrawing from NATO, we see Brussels, where NATO is headquartered, the subject of a radical Islamic terrorist attack," Cruz told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.
Trump, in an interview Monday with The Washington Post editorial board, questioned the need for NATO, which has been a central component of Western security efforts since the Cold War.
"We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore," Trump said.
"NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money," later added.
Trump doubled down on his proposal to rethink support for NATO during an interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer.
Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonPolls show tight Clinton-Trump race in 2016 battlegrounds Economic turmoil threatens Clinton Republicans to release Benghazi report Tuesday MORE, the Democratic front-runner, on Tuesday emphasized the need to support NATO after the attacks in Brussels that left more than 34 people dead and scores more injured. During an interview on NBC's "Today" show, she also knocked Trump's plan to close U.S. borders as "unrealistic."
But even as Cruz criticized Trump on NATO, he appeared to strike a similar tone on better vetting Syrian refugees being admitted into the U.S.
Cruz renewed his call for the United States to rethink its plan to bring in thousands of Syrian refugees over the next year. The issue became a flashpoint after some of those behind the Paris attacks in November reportedly entered Europe by posing as refugees.
"We need to immediately halt the president's ill-advised plan to bring in tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees," Cruz told reporters in remarks aired by CBSN, adding that the Obama administration's "vetting programs are woefully insufficient."
"It is time for us to implement serious vetting, and we should not be allowing anyone to come to this country that we cannot vet to make sure that they are not radical Islamic terrorism," Cruz added.
Cruz saved the brunt of his criticism for President Obama, accusing him of not speaking out more forcefully after the attack due to a fear of being politically incorrect.
"In the wake of Brussels, we don't need another lecture from President Obama on Islamophia. We need a commander in chief who does everything necessary to defeat the enemy," Cruz told reporters in Washington.