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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is pointing to this week’s shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., as evidence that female refugees from Syria should not be allowed in the country.
“We now know from San Bernardino, just a couple of days ago, that women are very capable of being involved in terrorist activity,” the GOP presidential candidate said at a forum in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Friday, according to ABC News.
One of the alleged assailants in the attack that left 14 dead and 21 injured Wednesday is Tashfeen Malik, 27, a Pakistani woman who immigrated to the U.S. in 2013 on a K-1 fiancée visa.
Authorities said Malik pledged her support to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as the attack was happening.
“The widow who comes over here from Syria, if aligned with ISIS or another organization, could create just as much death as any man given the weapons that are available now,” Christie said.
President Obama previously mocked Christie’s blanket opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into the country, asking Republican presidential candidates whether they were “scared of widows and orphans.”
The New Jersey governor slammed the president’s criticism in light of the San Bernardino attack.
“I wonder if the president is going to stand up and call me a tough guy today and insult me again,” Christie told radio show host Hugh Hewitt on Friday. “You know, the fact is I know a little bit about this stuff, and the president should open his ears more and open his mouth less.”
Christie pointed to his experience as a federal prosecutor in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“I have a lot of experience in prosecuting terrorism cases,” he said at the Fort Dodge forum. “After about an hour and a half of watching news coverage on TV, I turned to my wife and said, ‘This is a terrorist attack.’ ”
Obama has promised to allow 10,000 refugees fleeing war-torn Syria into the country. Several have already arrived, despite the opposition of 31 states.
The House overwhelmingly passed a bill last month to make accepting the refugees more difficult.