(CNSNews.com) – Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump reiterated his previous assertion that he would “go after the wives” and family members of terrorists.
“We have to be much tougher” on terrorists’ families, Trump said when asked about his previous statement during the fifth GOP presidential debate held in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
“Recently Donald Trump mentioned that we must kill the families of ISIS members. However, this violates the principles of distinction between civilians and combatants in international law. So my question is: How would intentionally killing innocent civilians set us apart from ISIS?” Georgia Tech student Josh Jacob asked on Facebook.
Trump replied: “We have to be much tougher, we have to be much stronger than we've been. We have people that know what’s going on. You take a look at just the attack in [San Bernardino] California the other day. There were numerous people, including the mother, that knew what was going on. They saw pipe bombs sitting all over the floor, they saw ammunition all over the place. They knew exactly what was going on.
“When you have the World Trade Center go, people were put into planes that were friends, families, girlfriends – and they were put into planes and they were sent back, for the most part, to Saudi Arabia. They knew what was going on. They went home and they wanted to watch their boyfriends on television.
“I would be very, very firm with families. And frankly, that will make people think, because they may not care much about their lives. But they do care, believe it or not, about their families' lives.”
But Trump’s position on targeting the families of terrorists was challenged by both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
“This is another example of [Trump’s] lack of seriousness,” Bush responded. “Look, this is troubling because we’re at war. They’ve declared war on us, and we need to have a serious strategy to destroy ISIS. But the idea that that is a solution to this is just crazy. It makes no sense to suggest this.”
“If you are going to kill the families of terrorists, realize there is something called the Geneva Convention that we would have to pull out of,” Paul also pointed out. “It would defy every norm.”
“So they can kill us but we can’t kill them?” Trump asked.