Donald Trump amped up his already heated rhetoric about the use of torture to extract information from terrorism suspects, speaking via telephone interview to CNN after Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Brussels.
“Look, I think we have to change our law on the waterboarding thing, where they can chop off heads and drown people in cages, in heavy steel cages and we can’t water board,” Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We have to change our laws and we have to be able to fight at least on almost equal basis. We have laws that we have to obey in terms of torture. They have no laws whatsoever that they have to obey.”
Blitzer brought up Salah Abdeslam — a chief suspect in the Paris attack who was detained last week and who it has been speculated might have connections to the Brussels attackers — and asked Trump whether he would begin “torturing him right away,” since Belgian authorities have said Abdeslam was already talking to investigators.
“He may be talking, but he’ll talk faster with the torture,” Trump said, suggesting torture could have prevented Tuesday attacks which have left at least 30 people dead.
“I would be willing to bet that he knew about this bombing that took place today,” Trump said. “We have to be smart. It’s hard to believe we can’t waterboard which is — look, nothing’s nice about it but, it’s your minimal form of torture. We can’t waterboard and they can chop off heads. “
Trump said he would “go further” than waterboarding and would listen to the “military people” about how to do it. Blitzer brought up that military leaders don’t support torture and that it is not a part of the U.S. military code of conduct.
“I think they believe in it 100 percent. You talk to General Patton from years ago. You talk to General Douglas MacArthur,” Trump said. “I will guarantee, these were real generals, and I guarantee you, they would be laughing. Right now they’re crying and right now they’re spinning in their graves as they watch the stupidity go on.”
Trump added that it was a “political decision” to oppose torture. Blitzer also pointed out that torture violates international agreements that the United States has signed.
“I would say that the eggheads that came up with this international law should turn on their television and watch CNN right now, because I’m look at scenes on CNN right now as I’m speaking to you that are absolutely atrocious,” Trump said. “And I would be willing to bet, when I am seeing all of the bodies laying all over the floor, including young, beautiful children laying dead on the floor, I would say if they watched that, maybe, just maybe they’ll approve of waterboarding and other things.”
Additionally Trump endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) idea that law enforcement should patrol more heavily Muslim communities, calling it “a good idea.”
Blitzer asked Trump what he would say to American Muslims who would feel discriminated against under such a policy.
“I say we have a problem. We have radical Islamic terrorism problem,” Trump said, while alluding to the debunked story that U.S. General John Pershing shot Muslims with bullets covered in pigs blood.
“It’s a very gruesome story. But you know what? The problem didn’t exist for 48 years after that happened,” Trump said. “We have to be a lot tougher than we are. Right now they look at us as weak, soft, stupid people. Look at scene on CNN right now, where all of the bodies all over the floor and we’re worried about waterboarding.”