Christie on refugees: Not even 5-year-old orphans

Updated 2:47 PM EST, Tue November 17, 2015
Presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate sponsored by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal at the Milwaukee Theatre November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
PHOTO: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Presidential candidate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate sponsored by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal at the Milwaukee Theatre November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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Story highlights

Christie says Syrian refugees can't be properly vetted

The New Jersey governor had a different view earlier this year

(CNN) —  

Chris Christie says the U.S. should not accept any new Syrian refugees, not even young orphans.

How do Syrian refugees get into the U.S.? Explaining the process

“I do not trust this administration to effectively vet the people who are proposed to be coming in,” the New Jersey governor and presidential hopeful said in an interview Monday with radio host Hugh Hewitt.

When asked if he would make an exception for “orphans under the age of five,” Christie said no.

Republicans to Obama: Keep Syrian refugees out

“The fact is that we need appropriate vetting,” he continued, “and I don’t think orphans under five are being, you know, should be admitted into the United States at this point. But you know, they have no family here. How are we going to care for these folks?”

Opinion: Shunning refugees is no answer to terror

Christie’s fellow Republican, Rep. Pete King, who opposes allowing Syrian refugees into the country because they can’t be adequately vetted, was asked on MSNBC on Tuesday morning about Christie’s position on orphans. King disagreed withe the New Jersey governor and said he would have no problem with young orphans being welcomed into the U.S.

On Tuesday, Christie wrote to President Barack Obama calling on him to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. and informing the president that New Jersey would not accept any.

Opinion: Why my state won’t turn refugees away

“I cannot allow New Jersey to participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees – any one of whom could be connected to terrorism – being placed in our State,” Christie wrote in a letter to Obama.

Hillary Clinton tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that she’s seeing “a lot of hateful rhetoric” coming from the Republicans on refugees.

More than half the nation’s governors say Syrian refugees not welcome

Donald Trump on Tuesday tweeted “Is our president insane?” as the Republican presidential candidate warned about allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S.

And GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee had a colorful way to illustrate why he’s opposed to the entry of Syrian refugees into the U.S.

“If you bought a 5 lb. bag of peanuts and you knew that in the 5 lb. bag of peanuts there were about 10 peanuts that were deadly poisonous, would you feed them to your kids? The answer is no,” Huckabee said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday.

Sarah Palin: Governors ‘last line of defense’ against ISIS

Meanwhile, Christie struck a different tone on refugees in September as the world reacted to images of a drowned 3-year-old.

“I’d sit down with our allies and figure out how we can help, because America is a compassionate country,” Christie said after the death of Aylan Kurdi, 3, who drowned off the Greek coast with his brother and mother as the family tried to reach relatives in Canada.

“We saw the image of that 4-year-old little boy drowned in Syria, and we can’t have those kinds of things. I can’t come up with an exact number. You’d have to sit with our allies and work together.”

Christie, along with more than 24 other governors, has said his state will not welcome new Syrian refugees in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks.

Paul Ryan calls for pause in refugee program