Ted Cruz is still refusing to slam his GOP rival Donald Trump over his plans to ban Muslims from entering the country, but told Fox News on Wednesday that a bill he introduced on Tuesday to place a moratorium on Syrian refugees will better help protect Americans from Islamic extremists coming into the United States from countries where the Islamic State holds power.
"I don't think it's the right approach," he told Fox News' "America's Newsroom"
host Bill Hemmer, "But the approach I do think is right is legislation that I have introduced in the United States Senate."
In a press conference in Washington on Tuesday with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the men talked about the moratorium and another bill that allows governors to opt out of receiving refugees in their states.
"Obama's own FBI has told Congress they can not vet these refugees to determine whether or not they're ISIS terrorists," said Cruz. "The first obligation should be protecting safety of American citizens."
But that doesn't mean Cruz plans to attack Trump on his plan.
"From the beginning, my approach — not just to Donald Trump but to all of the candidates — is not to engage in personal insults and attacks," said Cruz. "You know, think of the first couple debates. They just descended into food fights and personal insults."
Further, said Cruz, he likes and respects Trump, and doesn't "anticipate that changing at all."
He told Hemmer he won't be involved in personal insults and attacks on his fellow candidates because "I don't think American people care about a bunch of politicians bickering like schoolchildren."
But he did attack President Barack Obama for his lack of a strategy on defeating ISIS.
"[He] refuses to say the words radical Islamic terrorism, much less than take on and defeat ISIS," said Cruz. "Once we have the objective we need to listen to the judgment of military leaders, generals and admirals how you execute that plan."
He believes the first steps of the plan should be in launching air attacks such as were done during the first Persian Gulf war.
"We carpet bombed them . . . after that we went in and mopped up what little was left," said Cruz, but in comparison, Obama's strategy is "pinprick foreign policy."
He also called for arming the Kurds and Peshmerga soldiers to fight the battle.
"Yet the Obama administration, for political reasons, doesn't want to upset Baghdad and arm the Kurds," he said. "We should use the Kurds as our boots on the ground."
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