December 15, 2015 11:30 PM EST

Chris Christie firmly defended his call to bar the entry of Syrian refugees into the United States, including orphans under the age of five, during the fifth Republican debate.

“The first job of the president of the United States is to protect your safety and your security and the security and safety of your family… And it was widows and orphans by the way,” Christie said, recounting an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

“We now know from watching the San Bernardino attacks that women can committed heinous, heinous acts against humanity just the same as men can do,” Christie said. “And so I don’t back away from that position for a minute.”

Christie said in November during an interview with Hewitt that he would stop Syrian refugees from coming into the United States.

“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?” Christie said.

During the debate, Christie said that he would consider allowing Syrian refugees into the United States if FBI director James Comey recommended it. Christie recounted Comey’s testimony before Congress last month, saying that Comey had said “we cannot effectively vet these people.”

Comey, however, characterized his view of the refugee issue somewhat differently. “I can’t sit here and offer anybody an absolute assurance that there’s no risk associated with this,” Comey said last month.

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