Speaking with CNN today, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump claimed that torturing Salah Abdeslam could have prevented the terror attacks in Brussels this morning. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, speaking with Trump, asked him about his earlier statements regarding Brussels, the terror attacks, and ISIS. Trump then commented that Abdeslam may be speaking with police now, but he would be speaking much more quickly if he were being tortured.
“Well you know he may be talking but he’ll talk a lot faster with the torture,” said Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer today.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 22, 2016
Trump went on to espouse his support for torture and enhanced interrogation, which he has previously criticized the Obama administration for abandoning in favor of interrogation techniques many experts claim are more effective. Trump suggested the Brussels attacks occurred, in part, because of the Belgian authorities’ interrogation techniques, and Trump went on to suggest that many politicians in the U.S. actually – secretly – support the use of torture as an interrogation tool, reports Politico.
“I think they’re told to say that politically, I believe in it 100 percent,” Trump stated confidently.
Donald Trump has been an outspoken supporter of “enhanced interrogation” stating on the campaign trail that he would authorize intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies to engage in waterboarding and “a lot worse” in order to extract information from unwilling subjects, like the Brussels attackers.
After the attacks in Belgium, Donald Trump bluntly predicted that “this is going to happen in the United States.” https://t.co/Ym0bKujCt2
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) March 22, 2016
In CNN’s interview with Donald Trump, the videos showing the devastation caused by today’s attacks in Brussels played in the background, which Trump commented on after he was asked about the impact his administration’s pro-torture policy might have on international law.
“I would be willing to bet, when I’m seeing all of the bodies laying all over the floor, including young, beautiful children, laying dead on the floor, I would say if they watched that, maybe, just maybe they’ll approve waterboarding and other things,” Donald Trump said to Wolf Blitzer today, speaking out about the Brussels terror attacks.
Trump’s previous statements on torture run the gamut from full-throated support, as he suggested speaking with CNN earlier this year, to more measured statements that still support the use of “enhanced interrogation” and waterboarding.
Tragedy in Brussels horrible and frightening but calls for counterproductive, unlawful responses not a solution: https://t.co/yESNLw5jp6
— Laura Pitter (@Laurapitter) March 22, 2016
“We have to play the game the way they’re playing the game. You’re not going to win if we’re soft and they’re, they have no rules,” Trump told CBS earlier this year.
Trump’s statements on the Brussels attackers, and on Salah Abdeslam, seem to affirm his previous positions which he had backpedaled after major criticism from some within his own party. Trump previously suggested going after the families of suspected terrorists, and backed away from the statement clarifying that he would obey the law, if elected president, and would never instruct the U.S. military to break the law. But Donald Trump continues to press U.S. and international leaders to be tougher on ISIS.
“Did somebody tell ISIS ‘Look, we’re going to treat your guys well. Will you please do us a favor and treat our guys well?’ They don’t do that. We’re not playing by – we are playing by the rules, but they have no rules. It’s very hard to win when that’s the case,” Donald Trump said during an interview with CBS.
The Brussels attack today was hinted at by Belgian law enforcement in the days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam. How much law enforcement in Brussels knew about the attack remains unknown – similarly it’s unclear if Salah Abdeslam aided investigators in pinpointing some of the alleged “safe houses” which were raided this evening as part of the ongoing efforts of Brussels police to apprehend a suspect in connection with today’s bombing attacks.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]