During a question and answer session moderated by South Carolina State Rep. Bill Herbkersman, Trump was asked whether he would approve of waterboarding.
“Absolutely,” Trump said, as he has said before. But there was more.
“I said they’re chopping off our heads in the Middle East. They want to kill us. They want to kill us. They want to kill our country. They want to knock out our cities. And don’t tell me it doesn’t work. Torture works, okay folks?…Believe me, it works.”“I said I’ll approve it immediately, but I’ll make it also much worse. They said what do you mean,” Trump said, referring to an ABC News debate in February.
Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which nearly every country in the world has ratified, bans torture. Supporters of waterboarding have justified it by saying that it did not constitute torture, and Trump fully embraced its definition.
“Waterboarding is your minor form,” Trump said. “Some people say it’s not actually torture. Let’s assume it is. But they asked me the question. What do you think of waterboarding? Absolutely fine. But we should go much stronger than waterboarding. That’s the way I feel.”
While Trump has endorsed waterboarding before, he hasn’t explicitly supported torture in this way. This month, ABC news anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Trump if he would authorize torture.
“I would absolutely authorize something beyond waterboarding,” Trump said. “And believe me, it will be effective. If we need information, George, you have our enemy cutting heads off of Christians and plenty of others, by the hundreds, by the thousands.”
When Stephanopoulos pushed back and said, “So we’re going to chop off heads,” Trump responded “We’re going to do things beyond waterboarding perhaps, if that happens to come.”
It was another example of rhetorical bombast that has landed Trump in hot water with many of his presidential campaign opponents, on both sides of the aisle. But for his supporters, its that same bombast that has them turning out by the thousands.
“I do like Trump,” said 83-year-old Sherrill Casner, who attended the Bluffton event. “I think he’s the only one who’s really speaking out and means what he says.”