Trump Would Bring Back Waterboarding

Donald Trump
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, on November 23. Jay LaPrete/Reuters

If elected president, Donald Trump would "absolutely" bring back waterboarding as an interrogation tool. The Republican front-runner said so during a Sunday interview on ABC's This Week, and he doubled down on his comments during an Ohio rally on Monday—despite the Obama administration having discontinued the practice amid claims that it amounts to torture.

"I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us," Trump told ABC on Sunday. "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 is a technique that involves an interrogator pouring water onto a prisoner's face and into his or her breathing passages, resulting in the feeling of drowning. Groups such as the International Red Cross consider waterboarding torture, and the Senate report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program found it wasn't an effective way to gather intelligence either. The most useful intelligence was gathered as a result of traditional, nonviolent questioning, according to former FBI agent Ali Soufan, who was involved in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, once thought to be a high-level Al-Qaeda recruiter.

"Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would—in a heartbeat," Trump said Monday to a crowd of cheering supporters, The Washington Post reported. "And I would approve more than that. Don't kid yourself, folks. It works, OK? It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn't work."

"And you know what?" he continued. "If it doesn't work, they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing."