Real-estate tycoon Donald Trump offered some more national-security tough talk during a Monday-night campaign speech in Ohio.
“We’ve got to knock the crap out of them,” the Republican presidential front-runner declared of the Islamic State group in the Middle East.
Trump also enthusiastically doubled down on his vow to bring back waterboarding, a harsh interrogation practice widely acknowledged as torture.
“Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your a– I would,” Trump declared to cheers. “In a heartbeat. In a heartbeat. And I would approve more than that.”
Trump said his position on the issue was motivated by the Islamic State’s own torture practices, which include gruesome beheading videos.
“On the other side, they chop off our young peoples’ heads and they put them on a stick. On the other side, they build these iron cages and they will put 20 people in them and they drop them in the ocean for 15 minutes, and pull them up 15 minutes later,” Trump said.
President Barack Obama banned the use of waterboarding detainees after he was elected in 2008. Obama said he believed the practice, which simulates drowning, constituted torture and was an illegal form of interrogation. The administration of Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, defended waterboarding as a legal and necessary way to get information central to counter-terrorism efforts.
During his Monday-night campaign rally, Trump also repeatedly insisted that waterboarding is an effective interrogation method.
“And don’t kid yourself, folks. It works, OK?” the candidate said. “It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work. It works.”
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