Donald Trump said Sunday he would be willing as president to use torture because America “is living in a time that is more evil than any time that’s ever been.”
He confirmed on ABC’s “This Week” what he had said in Saturday night’s New Hampshire debate: that he would bring back the practice of waterboarding, which has been prohibited since its use drew fire in the Bush administration, and would condone “worse than that.”
He would not detail what that meant, other than to say, “I would absolutely authorize something other, beyond waterboarding, and believe me, it’ll be effective.”
He said that Islamic State militants had put the United States “under siege.”
Asked by host George Stephanopoulos whether the United States could win by being “more like them," Trump replied: “Yes, I’m sorry. You have to do it that way. We are living in a time that is more evil than any time that’s ever been. “
Moreover, he insisted that terrorists don’t view waterboarding as “real torture.”
“They think we are so stupid, you have no idea,” he said.
During Saturday night’s debate, Trump appeared more focused than in past outings and benefited from other candidates taking on his strongest challenger here, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
In the interview Sunday, he defended himself against debate charges by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that he had sought to drive an elderly woman out of her home by using eminent domain to benefit his Atlantic City casino development. (As Stephanopoulos noted, Bush was correct.)
During that exchange Saturday night, the crowd had turned on Trump and booed. He claimed Sunday that the debate hall was filled with donors, particularly Bush’s.
“He spent over $100 million on this failed campaign of his and he’s nowhere,” Trump said.
Trump has spent much of his campaign brushing off requests for specificity, and on Sunday he did so again regarding Supreme Court justices. He had previously suggested he would appoint justices who would reverse the court's recent legalization of same-sex marriage. But on Sunday, he backed away from that, obliquely.
“We’re going to look at judges — they’ve got to be great judges, they’ve got to be conservative judges,” he said of any Supreme Court picks he might make. Of gay marriage, he said: “I would prefer that they stand against, but we’ll see how it happens. It depends on the judge.”
Besides his morning television interviews, Trump planned Sunday to hold a rally in Plymouth, N.H., north of Concord in the central part of the state.