Donald Trump is not backing down from his promises to revive waterboarding as an enhanced interrogation technique against suspected terrorists, nor is he afraid to bring back “a hell of a lot worse.”
Since making his controversial statements at Saturday night’s GOP debates, Trump has been interviewed by CNN’s State of the Union and NBC’s Meet the Press. Donald Trump defended his views on both shows, saying waterboarding was not only effective, but “peanuts” compared to the way terrorists treated their captives.
Waterboarding is an interrogation method where a cloth is put over an incapacitated person’s face and water is poured over the cloth so that the person feels as if he or she is drowning. It came to the American public’s attention during the Bush administration’s War on Terror.
When defending the revival of waterboarding to Jake Tapper on State of the Union, Trump made reference to James Foley, a journalist beheaded by ISIS in 2014.
“They’re chopping off heads of Christians and many other people in the Middle East. They’re chopping heads off, they laugh at us when they hear we’re not going to approve waterboarding and then they’ll have a James Foley and others where they cut off their heads.”
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump further argued that waterboarding and far worse interrogation techniques were justifiable because they were nothing compared to the “medieval” killing methods used by terrorists in the Middle East.
“‘And by the way, waterboarding is peanuts compared to what we’re talking about happening there.'” Trump said referencing a statement he had made earlier. “So I said, ‘I would absolutely approve waterboarding and I’d go a lot further than waterboarding.’ ”
“The Donald” also stood by his earlier claims that waterboarding was an effective information-gathering technique.
“You can say what you want. I have no doubt that it works in terms of information and other things, and maybe not always, but nothing works always, but I have no doubt that it works.”
Earlier, Tapper asked Trump how he would bring back waterboarding despite the fact that it was not only illegal, but “punishable as a war crime.”
Trump responded that he would “go through a process to get it declassified.” He followed his statement up by saying “certainly waterboarding at a minimum,” implying that he would probably try to get far harsher techniques legalized, as well.
As with the GOP debate, Trump did not describe any of these techniques that were “a hell of a lot worse” than waterboarding. During Trump’s interview with Meet the Press, Chuck Todd pressed the Republican front runner to explain what he meant by “worse.”
At first, Trump appeared to evade the question, going into the same tirade about Middle Eastern barbarity that he had used at the GOP debates.
However, he eventually addressed the question, but refused to go into detail.
“I’m not going to define it to you on this program. But I would be very much in favor of going beyond waterboarding. And believe me, in terms of getting information, it works.”
Donald Trump also shrugged off arguments that the United States should not lower itself to the brutality of those it is fighting.
“OK. They can do it but we can’t,” Trump responded to Todd before going into another tirade on terrorism.
Trump ended his statement on waterboarding by saying that applying it to terror suspects would not bother him “one bit.”
That may be true, but many legislators, lawyers, activists, and politicians would be bothered by it, and those are the people Donald Trump will have to deal with if he makes it to the Oval Office.
[Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]