Trump surrogate: Waterboarding could have stopped Orlando attack with only 'a bit of discomfort'
Kayleigh McEnany speaks to CNN (screen grab)

Donald Trump surrogate Kayleigh McEnany suggested on Thursday that the recent terrorist attacks in Orlando and San Bernardino could have been prevent if the Obama administration had been willing to use waterboarding and put "someone in a bit of discomfort to extract information."

On CNN's New Day, McEnany was asked to explain Trump's call to "bring back waterboarding" and "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding."

"I think that's all consistent," McEnany replied. "He's talking about expanding the law the same way the Bush administration did to use this only when needed in very limited circumstances to get information from detainees."

CNN host Alisyn Camerota and guest Ali Velshi both pointed out that waterboarding had been proven to produce unreliable information.

"I mean this is the point is that it's actually not, what the FBI director has said, Robert Mueller, is that it actually has not been effective," Camerota recalled. "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and gave erroneous information."

"I think the point is that what Donald Trump is talking about is punitive. He's talking about it as punishment," the CNN host added. "They behead us, we should waterboard them, but not talking about whether it's effective for actual intelligence."

McEnany disagreed: "But I'm not sure that it's punitive so much as saying that we need to be strong."

"The fact that in this country we're not willing to put someone in some form of discomfort, be it sleep deprivation, which many argue is what broke KSM," she said. "We are trying to thwart terrorist attacks. We don't want 49 to die in Orlando. We don't want 14 to die in San Bernardino."

"If it means putting someone in a bit of discomfort to extract information, I think most of the nation would say that's OK within the bounds of the law," McEnany concluded.

Watch the video below via Media Matters.