Donald Trump Wants to Be America’s Torturer-in-Chief
Republican presidential candidate says waterboarding isn't cruel enough
At a campaign stop in North Charleston, South Carolina on Feb. 19 on the eve of that state’s primary, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, the billionaire hotel mogul, called for the United States to torture insurgents and terror suspects — starting with waterboarding.
“Is it torture or not? It’s so borderline,” Trump said of waterboarding, according to MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin. “It’s like minimal, minimal, minimal torture.”
Torture, including waterboarding — the practice of repeatedly nearly drowning a suspect during interrogation — is illegal under U.S. law. The CIA illegally waterboarded terror suspects under Pres. George W. Bush. Experts agree that torture does not produce good intelligence.
Trump, who in mid-February led his Republican presidential rivals in most polls, has no military or government experience. At his campaign stop in North Charleston, Trump compared himself favorably to U.S. Army general John Pershing, who led America’s brutal campaign against insurgents, including Muslims, in The Philippines in the early 20th century.
“He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pig’s blood,” Trump said, describing what he claimed was Pershing’s treatment of Muslim prisoners. “And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person he said, ‘You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years there wasn’t a problem, okay?”
The Pershing story is a widely discredited myth. And the Islamic insurgency in The Philippines continues to this day. But those facts did not deter Trump from warning against the dire consequences if America doesn’t elect a leader who tortures prisoners and devises tactics specifically to offend Muslims.
“We better start getting tough and we better start getting vigilant, and we better start using our heads or we’re not gonna have a country, folks,” Trump said, according to Sarlin.