Mike Pence doesn't discount the return of waterboarding in Trump's America

Source: AP
Source: AP

And in today's Mike Pence news, here is our VP-to-be with a disconcertingly slippery answer on waterboarding and whether it will be an acceptable interrogation tactic in Donald Trump's America. 

Citing Sen. John McCain's flat-out refusal to allow a comeback for the torture method, Face the Nation's John Dickerson asked Pence about the future of waterboarding.

"I have great respect for Sen. McCain and what I can tell you is that going forward, as he outlined in that famous speech in Ohio, a President Donald Trump is going to focus on confronting and defeating radical Islamic terrorism as a threat to this country," he responded.

"We're going to have a president again who will never say what we'll never do," Pence continued.

In November 2015, Trump told a crowd at an Ohio rally that he might put torture back on the table as a means of fighting terrorism. 

"Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would — in a heartbeat," he said. "And I would approve more than that. Don't kid yourself, folks. It works, okay? It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn't work."

Throughout his campaign, Trump stuck to his assertion that "torture works." And yet, according to the U.S. Army at least, "The use of force is a poor technique" that can easily result in inaccurate information. President Barack Obama banned waterboarding in 2009, saying that he viewed its use as "a mistake." 

"Waterboarding" is defined as "an interrogation technique in which water is forced into a detainee's mouth and nose so as to induce the sensation of drowning," according to Merriam-Webster.

McCain, who was taken prisoner and tortured while fighting in the Vietnam War, spoke at the Halifax International Security Forum Saturday. Faced with waterboarding's potential resurgence — especially in light of Trump's choice of Mike Pompeo, a proponent of the practice, as CIA director — McCain gave it a hard no. 

"I don't give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do, we will not waterboard," McCain said. "We will not do it." 

"My god, what does it say about America if we're going to inflict torture on people," he added.

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Claire Lampen

Claire is a staff writer at Mic who covers women's issues and reproductive rights. She is based in New York and can be reached at claire@mic.com.

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