Trump would approve waterboarding ‘in a heartbeat’

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE is firmly in favor of subjecting detained terrorists to waterboarding, he said at a campaign rally on Monday evening.

“Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would — in a heartbeat,” he said at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, according to multiple reports. “I would approve more than that.

“Believe me, it works,” he added. “And you know what? If it doesn't work, they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing."

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To justify the harsh interrogation technique, which has been widely condemned by President Obama and others as torture, the business mogul highlighted the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“On the other side, they chop off our young peoples heads and they put them on a stick,” he said, in an apparent reference to the extremist group’s ritual beheadings. “On the other side they build these iron cages and they put 20 people in them and they drop them in the ocean for 15 minutes and then pull them up 15 minutes later.”

Trump’s comments amount to a doubling down of similar remarks on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. The hawkish tone he has taken in recent weeks has only solidified his position atop the Republican presidential primary. 

The George W. Bush administration’s policy condoning waterboarding — during which water is poured over a cloth held to a prisoner's face to simulate drowning — was heavily criticized by Democrats at the time and outlawed by Obama when he came into office. Some Republicans have defended the practice, however, which they say was necessary in the United States’s war against al Qaeda.

To return to waterboarding, Trump would have to reverse the law.

A defense policy bill that passed through Congress this year limited interrogation methods to those outlined in the Army Field Manual.

Senate report last year claimed that waterboarding and other brutal “enhanced interrogation” methods proved ineffective during the Bush administration and amounted to torture.