Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called in to the "TODAY" show on March 22 to give his opinion on the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium. Trump criticized the country and advocated waterboarding torture (video below).
"TODAY' show host Matt Lauer asked Trump what he would do if he got "this call" about Brussels as president, and he touted his number one position in the polls, his calls for strong borders and added:
I know Brussels well and Brussels is a total mess. Brussels is -- and I'm not talking about the attack today, I'm talking about generally speaking -- it is a city that used to be one of the finest, one of the most beautiful and safest cities in the world and now it's a catastrophic, very dangerous city where the police have very little control.
After not getting an answer to his question, Lauer asked again.
Trump skipped the question a second time, and said he would be very tough on the borders and not allow "certain people" to come into the U.S. without "absolute perfect documentation."
"TODAY" show host Savannah Guthrie asked Trump who he would exclude from the U.S. and how he would make that determination.
Trump said he would exclude refugees from war-torn Syria who "don't have documentation," but somehow have cell phones.
Trump went on to slam Germany's acceptance of refugees, many of whom are fleeing ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Lauer told Trump that Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015, was caught by Belgian police this week.
Trump criticized the "liberal" laws in Belgium, and added, "They should be able to do whatever they have to do to get him to give the information."
Guthrie asked Trump to be specific, and he replied:
Well, I'm not looking for breaking news on your show, but frankly, the waterboarding, if it was up to me, and if we change the laws or have the laws, waterboarding would be fine ... because you know, we work within laws.
They don’t work within laws. They have no laws. We work within laws. The waterboarding would be fine and if they could expand the laws I would do a lot more than waterboarding. You have to get the information from these people and we have to be smart and we have to be tough, and we can't be soft and weak which is what we are right now.
Trump gave no evidence of the U.S. being "soft and weak."
Guthrie asked Trump if he believes torture works in a case like this and he said, "Yes, I am in that camp. I don't believe the other. I am in that camp."
David Irvine, a retired brigadier general, noted in JustSecurity.org in 2014 that a report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) on CIA torture and a similar three-year study, which he was a part of, both found "there is no firm or persuasive evidence, now either in the public or the classified records, that the widespread use of brutal and coercive interrogation techniques produced significant information of value. There is substantial evidence that much of the information adduced from the techniques was not useful or reliable."
When told that Abdeslam is in the custody Belgian law enforcement, Trump said:
That’s okay, I mean he’s being held by whoever. Let the military take him over, they have to get their act together. Belgium is no longer Belgium. Belgium is not the Belgium that you and I knew, Matt, from 20 years ago, which was one of the most beautiful cities and one of the safest cities in the world. Belgium is a horror show right now.