Donald Trump would bring back waterboarding because it is 'peanuts compared to chopping off heads'

Trump also continues to support the concept of a database for Muslims, despite comparisons to Nazi Germany

Adam Withnall
Sunday 22 November 2015 17:26 GMT
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a press conference, 3 Nov 2015
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a press conference, 3 Nov 2015 (AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump has said he would bring back waterboarding if he was made President.

Speaking in an interview with ABC News on Sunday, the would-be Republican candidate said the interrogation technique, widely considered to be a form of torture, was “peanuts compared to chopping off people’s heads”.

The billionaire businessman sparked controversy at the end of last week by suggesting he would have all Muslims living on the US register on a database.

Mr Trump has since suggested the database would be “just for Syrian refugees”, but when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if he would unequivocally rule out a database on all Muslims, he replied: “No, not at all.”

The US should “be very, very vigilant” of any refugees it accepted from Syria, he said, adding: “They should not come in, by the way. They should not be allowed to come in.”

And referring to Isis’s high-profile public executions of hostages over the past year and a half, he said: “We have to be strong. You know, they don’t use waterboarding over there, they use chopping off people’s heads.

“I would bring it back, yes. I would bring it back. I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they’d do to us, 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.”

During the interview, Stephanopoulos pressed Trump on his support of the Second Amendment – the right to bear arms – and the fact that he would have a watchlist for Muslims.

Asked if he accepted the fact that “under current law, individuals on the terror watchlist and the no-fly list have been allowed to buy guns and explosives”, Mr Trump said: “ We have to have a watchlist, and if that watchlist has somebody that’s -- you know, we have -- you know, we have the laws right now. We have the laws already on the books as far as Second Amendment for guns, and as you know I’m a big, big, really big proponent of the Second Amendment.”

Trump did back away from comments on closing mosques. In an interview on Tuesday, he said the United States was “going to have no choice” but to close mosques.

But on Sunday, Trump said: “I don't want to close mosques; I want to surveil mosques.”

Ben Carson, who faced criticism this week for comparing Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs”, wouldn't say whether he would reinstate the use of waterboarding.

“I'm not real big on telling them what we would or would not do,” Carson said.

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