Donald Trump is casting aside any doubt about his position on torture: He’s in favor of it because “we have to beat the savages.”
Trump vowed on Friday that he would never instruct the military to break the law — appearing to flip on his previous promise to bring back waterboarding and more severe forms of torture. But on Saturday he said repeatedly, during a rally and a late-night news conference, that he would seek to “broaden” the laws to allow torture, including but not limited to waterboarding.
And pressed on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about his position, Trump vowed to “strengthen the laws so that we can better compete” with ISIS’ brutal tactics — rejecting out of hand the argument that allowing torture would be stooping to ISIS’ savagery.
“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 said in an interview taped Saturday that aired Sunday morning.
Trump also rejected the argument that American hostages could be treated worse by America’s enemies if the U.S. engaged in torture, insisting that “they’re doing that any way.”
“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 rules, but they have no rules. It’s very hard to win when that’s the case,” Trump said, adding that the United States’ ban on waterboarding is a sign of weakness.
“I think we’ve become very weak and ineffective. I think that’s why we’re not beating ISIS. It’s that mentality,” Trump said, adding that ISIS “must think we are a little bit on the weak side.”
Katrina Pierson, Trump’s spokeswoman for his campaign, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Monday that Trump didn’t flip his stance on waterboarding, but clarified that Trump is saying, “we cannot continue to play by different sets rules when we have people beheading Christians and selling their children into slavery.”
“So he does want to go to the Congress, he does want to go to the (security) council and see how we can better combat terrorism,” she said on CNN’s New Day. “Because what we’re doing now is simply not working.”