GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said he would “absolutely” bring back waterboarding as a form of enhanced interrogation to combat terrorism, he told George Stephanopoulos Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“Waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us,” the real estate mogul said, then cited the 2014 beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley in northwestern Syria. “What they’re doing to us, what they did to James Foley when they chopped off his head, that’s a whole different level and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation.”
Waterboarding involves putting a cloth over a subject’s face and pouring water over the cloth, causing the sensation of drowning. The CIA used this form of enhanced interrogation, which has been defined as torture by the United Nations, to question some terrorist suspects in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Trump also reiterated his desire to embark on surveillance of mosques in the U.S., adding, “I don’t want to close mosques, I want to surveil mosques,” he said.
He also seemed to invoke the threat of future terrorist attacks. “You have got to use strong measures or you are going to see buildings coming down all over New York City and elsewhere,” he said.
Trump reiterated his desire to implement a database to screen refugees from Syria due to arrive in the U.S. as part of a humanitarian effort. “We don’t know if they’re ISIS,” he said of the refugees, the majority of whom are women and children. “This could be the Trojan horse — it’s probably not — but it could be the great Trojan horse of all time.”
Trump also said those on terror watch lists should be restricted from purchasing guns if they are a known “enemy of state.” Currently, someone on a terror watch list can legally purchase a gun in the U.S.
“If we have an enemy of state, I don’t want to give him anything,” Trump said, while insisting his staunch support of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. “I want to have him in jail — that’s what I want. I want to have him in jail.”
Trump also lashed out at his presidential rivals, including Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. “She doesn’t have the strength or the stamina to be president,” he said.
He also ripped into one of his GOP rivals, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has called Trump’s plan to close mosques a sign of weakness.
“Jeb Bush is a weak person and that’s been defined very strongly,” Trump said. “Jeb is a person that will not solve a problem like this.”