The Slatest

Donald Trump Vows to Legalize Torture

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a caucus night watch party at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on Feb. 23, 2016 in Las Vegas.  

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Donald Trump says the laws that prevent the U.S. military from waterboarding and carrying out other forms of torture against terrorists are making America weak. “I think we are weak,” Trump told CBS News’ John Dickerson. “We cannot beat ISIS. We should beat ISIS very quickly.”

The point, Trump said, is that the terrorists don’t follow any laws, so they have an advantage. The Republican front-runner insisted, as he did on Friday, that he wanted to “stay within the laws,” but, he said that “we have to increase the laws.”  

“We have an enemy in the Middle East that’s chopping off heads and drowning people in massive steel cages,” Trump said. “We have an enemy that doesn’t play by the laws. You could say laws, and they’re laughing. They’re laughing at us right now. I would like to strengthen the laws so that we can better compete.”

Trump dismissed suggestions that if the U.S. starts torturing suspects, U.S. hostages could be subject to worse treatment. “They’re doing that anyway. They’re killing our soldiers when they capture ’em,” he said. What about the thinking that the laws “separates us from the savages”? Trump dismissed the suggestion: “We have to beat the savages.”

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.