“We can't do waterboarding but they can do chopping off heads, drowning people in steel cages, they can do whatever they want to do,” Trump told attendees at a St. Clairsville, Ohio rally. “You know, you have to fight fire with fire.”
At least 36 people were killed and over 140 were wounded in multiple suicide bombings at one of the world’s busiest airports. Turkish officials have said Islamic State fighters were likely responsible for the attack.
“Folks, there's something going on that's really really bad,” Trump said at the rally. “All right? It's bad. And we better get smart and we better get tough or we're not going to have much much a country left, okay? It's bad. Terrible.”
Trump asked the crowd what they thought about waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning that was banned by George W. Bush’s administration in 2006.
“I like it a lot,” he said to cheers from the crowd. “I don’t think it’s tough enough.”
Though the technique has been condemned as ineffective and violative of international agreements on torture, Trump insisted it didn’t go quite far enough.
In a vaguely worded statement and tweet on Tuesday, Trump hinted at his plan to use other torture techniques, saying U.S. officials should do “everything” possible to prevent terrorist attacks.
He spoke more plainly in an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” where he said he would “change our law on, you know, the waterboarding thing” in order to “be able to fight at least on an almost equal basis.”
“Nothing's nice about it but it's a minimal form of torture,” he added. “We can't water board and they can chop off heads.”
Trump has enthusiastically pushed this pro-waterboarding stance throughout the 2016 race. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former prisoner of war Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and CIA Director John Brennan are among those who have condemned his position.
In a statement sent to TPM Wednesday, Amnesty International's Director of National Security with Human Rights Program Naureen Shah called use of the technique a "human rights violation and a war crime, plain and simple."