(CNSNews.com) – GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said Thursday that the U.S. military won’t refuse to carry out his orders to target terrorists’ families and to carry out interrogation methods that are more extreme than waterboarding.
“They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me,” Trump said when Fox News’ Bret Baier asked during the GOP presidential debate what he would do if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders.
As CNSNews.com reported, scores of Republican national security, defense, and political experts signed an open letter against Trump.
Also, last month, Gen. Michael Hayden, former CIA director and National Security Agency director, told “Real Time with Bill Maher” that the U.S. military may refuse to carry out Trump’s orders if he becomes president, saying, “If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act.”
“You are required not to follow an unlawful order,” Hayden added. “That would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.”
BAIER: Mr. Trump, just yesterday, almost 100 foreign policy experts signed on to an open letter refusing to support you, saying your embracing expansive use of torture is inexcusable.
General Michael Hayden, former CIA director, NSA director, and other experts have said that when you asked the U.S. military to carry out some of your campaign promises, specifically targeting terrorists' families, and also the use of interrogation methods more extreme than waterboarding, the military will refuse, because they've been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders.
So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?
TRUMP: They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me.
BAIER: But they're illegal.
TRUMP: Let me just tell you, you look at the Middle East. They're chopping off heads. They're chopping off the heads of Christians and anybody else that happens to be in the way. They're drowning people in steel cages. And he -- now we're talking about waterboarding.
This really started with Ted, a question was asked of Ted last -- two debates ago about waterboarding, and Ted was, you know, having a hard time with that question, to be totally honest with you. They then came to me - what do you think of waterboarding? I said, it's fine, and if we want to go stronger, I'd go stronger, too, because, frankly that's the way I feel.
Can you imagine -- can you imagine these people, these animals over in the Middle East, that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we're having a hard problem with waterboarding? We should go for waterboarding, and we should go tougher than waterboarding. That's my opinion.
BAIER: But targeting terrorists' families?
TRUMP: And I'm a leader. I'm a leader. I've always been a leader. I've never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they're going to do it. That's what leadership is all about.
BAIER: Even targeting terrorists' families?
TRUMP: Well, look, you know, when a family flies into the World Trade Center, a man flies into the World Trade Center, and his family gets sent back to where they were going -- and I think most of you know where they went -- and, by the way, it wasn't Iraq -- but they went back to a certain territory, they knew what was happening. The wife knew exactly what was happening.
They left two days early, with respect to the World Trade Center, and they went back to where they went, and they watched their husband on television flying into the World Trade Center, flying into the Pentagon, and probably trying to fly into the White House, except we had some very, very brave souls on that third plane. All right?