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Donald Trump says he likes waterboarding 'a lot' in speech about Istanbul attack

The presumptive Republican nominee was speaking in the aftermath of the attack that left more than 40 people dead

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Thursday 30 June 2016 15:07 BST

The presumptive Republican presidential candidate has sparked fresh controversy by repeating his call for the use of waterboarding against terror suspects, declaring: “I like it a lot.”

Speaking in the aftermath on the attack on Istanbul airport, Donald Trump said that the Obama administration had been too soft in dealing with extremists.

“You have to fight fire with fire,” said Mr Trump, referring to Isis headings. “We have to fight so viciously and violently because we're dealing with violent people.”

 Mr McCain's relationship with Mr Trump has long been tense

According to the Associated Press, Mr Trump then asked the crowd in Ohio: “What do you think about waterboarding?”

They cheered as he gave his answer. “I like it a lot,” he said. “I don't think it’s tough enough.”

This is not the first time that the 70-year-old New York tycoon has talked of his support for waterboarding, a practice described by President Barack Obama as torture and which was officially banned by the US in 2006.

In March, Mr Trump called for broadening laws to allow for the use of torture, including but not limited to waterboarding. His stance has put him at odds with some members of his own party including Senator John McCain.

“Folks, there’s something going on that’s really, really bad. All right? It’s bad,” said Mr Trump. “And we better get smart and we better get tough. Or we’re not going to have much of a country left, OK?”

Mr McCain has had a tense relationship with Mr Trump, who once said the senator, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years, was not a hero “because he was captured”. Despite the prickliness, Mr McCain, in what is being seen as a move to ensure his own reelection, is backing Mr Trump for the presidency.

On Wednesday, the senator again criticised Mr Trump’s remarks on waterboarding, repeating his view that torture was neither appropriate or effective.

“It’s not the United States of America. It’s not what we are all about. It’s not what we are,” he said to applause, at the Bipartisan Policy Centre in Washington.

Mr McCain said that waterboarding was considered a war crime according to the Geneva conventions.

“But perhaps more important than that, if you’re not into academics and history is it doesn’t work,” he said. “Because if you inflict enough pain on someone they will tell you whatever they think you want to hear.”

Mr McCain also joked that those who initially thought Trump would be the nominee were “crazy”.

“If you believed that Donald Trump was going to be the nominee and you believed that Bernie Sanders was going to come close, please raise your hand,” he said.

“Please don’t drive an automobile in the metropolitan area. You're a danger to yourself and others.”

More than 40 people were killed when three men with explosives attacked Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport on Tuesday night.

The Turkish authorities have blamed Isis and identified the three suspected attackers.

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