On several occasions during the 2016 race for the White House, Donald Trump made statements similar to this one:
“(I’ll) bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
Was that just posturing, a tactic Trump used to appear tough to American voters? Based on what Mike Pence said earlier today on Face the Nation, it would appear it was much more than just talk. Asked about the use of torture, by host John Dickerson, Pence proclaimed:
“We’re going to have a president again who will never say what we’ll never do.”
Will Trump allow waterboarding? "We're going to have a president who will never say what we'll never do," says Gov. Mike Pence. pic.twitter.com/GuFaQPXM8q
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 20, 2016
Pence’s defiant statement was a clear rebuttal to remarks made by Arizona Senator John McCain, who said on Saturday:
“I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do. We will not waterboard. We will not do it.”
But what recourse would McCain–or anyone–have if Trump authorizes the use of torture against those accused of terrorism? McCain responded to that question with this promise:
“If they started waterboarding, I swear to you, there are a bunch of us who would have [Trump] in court in a New York minute.”
In case you were wondering, torture is also illegal. Waterboarding, a torture technique that simulates drowning, is illegal in the U.S., is not authorized by the U.S. Army Field Manual (which dictates acceptable interrogation practices) and is prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.
McCain added this about the very thought of using torture in any form:
“My God, what does it say about America if we’re going to inflict torture on people? It makes it hard for us to make the argument about the moral superiority of our government and our way of life.”
Some of us are morally superior to the terrorists, but it doesn’t appear Donald Trump or Mike Pence can be included in that group of Americans.