Donald Trump shocked the country – again – when he said on ABC’s “This Week” that if elected president he would bring back strong interrogation tactics such as waterboarding in order to glean information from terrorists. Compared to what the enemy is doing to us, says Trump, waterboarding is “peanuts.”
Waterboarding is an old form of water torture in which the victim’s head is covered with a towel then drenched in water. Because the nose and mouth are covered, the victim experiences the sensation of drowning. Waterboarding can cause pain, dry drowning, and damage to the brain and lungs from oxygen deprivation. The psychological damage can last for years.
When asked if he supports a database of Muslims entering America, Trump replied: “I want a database for the refugees – if they come into the country. We have no idea who these people are. When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country we don’t know if they’re ISIS; we don’t know if it’s a Trojan horse and I definitely want a database and other checks and balances…We have no choice. We have no idea who’s being sent in here. This could be the great – it’s probably not – but it could be the great Trojan horse of all time.”
Trump also mentioned “something strange going on,” noting that most of the refugees he sees standing in line are “strong, very powerful looking men” accompanied by few women and children.
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked the GOP presidential hopeful if he would consider using strong interrogation tactics such as waterboarding. “Well we have to be strong, you know they don’t use waterboarding over there; they use chopping off people’s heads; they use drowning people.”
Stephanopoulos then steered the conversation to an earlier comment made by Trump in which he proposed closing down American mosques. He mentioned that Jeb Bush called this idea a “sign of weakness.”
“Well Jeb Bush is a weak person,” responded Trump, also calling him a “low energy person.” Trump says we are dealing with “very very tough people” that understand strength, not weakness. “You need strength and you need stamina” to fight back. Stephanopoulos questioned Trump’s criteria for closing mosques and how that action aligns with the First Amendment and Trump’s priority to protect religious liberties within this country.
Trump explained that he does not want to close mosques, just monitor them. “We were doing it recently until de Blasio closed them up in New York City,” he said, referring to de Blasio as “the worst mayor that New York City has ever had.” Trump explained that people who attend mosques regularly know the good people and the bad people, but they don’t talk. Without the information we could gather from monitoring mosques, says Trump, “You’re going to see buildings coming down all over New York City and elsewhere.”