Trump on Torture: 'We Have to Beat the Savages'

By Susan Jones | March 7, 2016 | 5:12am EST
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump signs autographs during the final round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament, Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Doral, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

( - Republican Donald Trump, asked to clarify his position on torture Sunday, said he believes the United States is wrong to ban waterboarding.

"We have to beat the savages," Trump told CBS's "Face the Nation." "You have to play the game the way they're playing the game."

Trump noted that Islamic State terrorists chopping off heads and drowning people in steel cages. "We have an enemy that doesn't play by the laws. You could say laws, and they're laughing. They're laughing at us right now.

Trump said he will "always abide by the law," but he would like to have the law "expanded." (In the last Republican debate, Trump said he would expect the military to follow his orders on torture, but the next day, he backed away from that, saying he would not order the military to violate the law.)

"I happen to think that when you're fighting an enemy that chops off heads, I happen to think that we should use something that is stronger than we have right now," Trump told Dickerson. Right now, basically water-boarding is essentially not allowed, as I understand it."

President Obama banned various harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, by executive order in 2009, and Congress in 2015 wrote that ban into federal law.)

But on Sunday, Trump said it's "very tough to beat enemies that don't...have any restrictions, all right? We have these massive restrictions."

Dickerson asked Trump why he thinks waterboarding is now banned.

"I think we have become very weak and ineffective. I think that's why we're not beating ISIS. It's that mentality," Trump responded.

"We cannot beat ISIS. We should beat ISIS very quickly. General Patton would have had ISIS down in about three days. General Douglas MacArthur -- we are playing by a different set of rules. We are -- let me just put it differently.

"When the ISIS people chop off the heads, and then they go back to their homes and they talk, and they hear we're talking about water-boarding like it's the worst thing in the world, and they just drowned a hundred people and chopped off 50 heads, they must think we are a little bit on the weak side.

Dickerson noted that water-boarding was banned partly because of worry that American soldiers would be treated even worse if they were captured. "What do you think of that argument?" Dickerson asked Trump.

"They're doing that anyway. They're killing our soldiers when they capture them. I mean, they're doing that anyway.

Now, if that were the case, in other words, we won't do it and you don't do it. But we're not playing by those rules. They're not -- why, somebody tell ISIS, look, we're going to treat your guys well, would you please do us a favor and treat our guys well? They don't do that.

We're not playing by -- we are playing by rules, but they have no rules. It's very hard to win when that's the case.

"Isn't that separates us from the savages, rules?" Dickerson asked.

"No, I don't think so. We have to beat the savages."

"By being savages?" Dickerson asked.

"Well, look, you have to play the game the way they're playing the game," Trump said. "You're not going to win if we are soft, and they are -- they have no rules. Now, I want to stay within the laws. I want to do all of that. But I think we have to increase the laws, because the laws are not working, obviously. All you have to do is take a look what is going on. And they're getting worse. They're chopping, chopping, chopping, and we're worried about water-boarding.

"I just think it's -- I think our priorities are mixed up."

Also See:
Trump: US Military ‘Won’t Refuse’ to Carry Out Orders to Kill Terrorists’ Families


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