Presidential front-running candidate thinks torture laws should be broadened.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has said he supports waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques to extract information from terrorist captives, said, at a rally in Orlando, Florida, that as president, he would not order US troops to violate any laws, including those that prohibit torturing of captives.
He did, however, call for a broadening of the laws governing torture to give interrogators more leeway in trying to gather intelligence from enemy combatants, captured on the battlefields, according to the Washington Post. The front-running candidate mentioned the waterboarding process twice at his rally being held at an arena at the University of Central Florida on Saturday afternoon, being interrupted by protesters on one such occasion.
Trump, not one to mince words, said to the crowd, “As far as the waterboarding is concerned, we have to stay within the laws. We have to stay within the laws. Hey: Who here thinks that ISIS — who chops off heads, who drowns people in a cage — who here thinks that ISIS stays within the laws. Right? We’re like a bunch of babies. But we’re going to stay within the laws.”
Trump continued to say, “But you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to have those law broadened because we’re playing with two sets of rules: their rules and our rules. And those laws are going to be broadened. It’s embarrassing to see what’s happening.”
Trump’s comments on enhanced interrogation have drawn many dissenting voices, including South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who sent a letter to Marine General Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asking if troops would be ordered to violate the international and US laws on torture if the president issued such a directive. Soon following the release of Graham’s letter, Trump issued a statement saying as president, he would never order a military officer to disobey the law.
Trump added he understands the United States is bound by laws and treaties, and vowed to seek advice from the military officials in such matters.