Republican candidate endorses interrogation method that was scrapped by Bush administration because of torture concerns – and ineffectiveness
Donald Trump touted the benefits of waterboarding in a campaign rally on Monday night, telling a crowd that “you bet your ass” he would bring it back into use.
Addressing thousands of people in Columbus, Ohio, the Republican frontrunner praised waterboarding, an interrogation method that has been called torture. “I would approve more than that,” he said.
Trump told supporters: “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would. In a heartbeat. I would approve more than that. It works.”
The Republican frontrunner then added “… and if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway for what they do to us”.
Trump is not the first Republican candidate to endorse the use of waterboarding, which involves simulating drowning, in an attempt to elicit information from terror suspects.
Waterboarding was first used by the US in 2002 on an al-Qaida suspect, then on at least two other CIA detainees during the Bush administration, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden and mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It was banned by the Bush administration in 2006 as ineffective and potentially illegal.
Trump also doubled down on his unproven claim that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Trump insisted there were “tailgate-style celebrations” on rooftops in Jersey City, New Jersey, and said: “I saw it on television and I read about it on the internet.”
The author of the newspaper article that Trump has cited for that claim said on Monday that he does not remember any evidence of those celebrations.
The Republican frontrunner further reminisced about the terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, saying that he watched them from his apartment. “I watched people jumping off the buildings,” Trump said. He also told attendees that he watched “the second plane come in [to the World Trade Center] and I said ‘Wow, that’s unbelievable’”.
Trump added that in his view 9/11 “was worse than Pearl Harbor because at least with Pearl Harbor they were attacking the military”. In addition to the two planes that flew into the World Trade Center in New York, a third flew into the Pentagon, killing 125 people there, and a fourth targeted at Washington DC crashed outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after a struggle between the terrorists and passengers.
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