Republicans Try To Outdo Each Other On Torture

Donald Trump wants to do things that are "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding."

02/06/2016 10:52 pm ET
  • Zach Carter Senior Political Economy Reporter, The Huffington Post

During Saturday's Republican presidential debate, candidates Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump tried to outdo each other on brutal interrogation tactics, with all three candidates voicing support for waterboarding, a torture technique used by the CIA under President George W. Bush.

Trump reiterated his pledge to reintroduce the technique if elected: "We have people chopping the heads off Christians, we have people chopping the heads off many other people," Trump said. "Not since medieval times have we seen what's going on. I would bring back waterboarding, and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding."

Trump was out-brutalizing Cruz, who said he would only use waterboarding sparingly, in emergency scenarios. Cruz, however, still denied that waterboarding constitutes torture, appearing to rely on Bush lawyer John Yoo's discredited definition of the term.

Yoo and then-Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee wrote an infamous memo arguing that torture only includes practices that are "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

Rubio also backed waterboarding, saying that terrorism cases should not be held to the same humane legal standards of traditional law enforcement.

During the GOP debate, New York Times reporter Charlie Savage tweeted out excerpts from the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture, which includes graphic details about physical reactions to waterboarding such as vomiting and "involuntary leg, chest and arm spasms."

Editor's note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist,birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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