Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has changed his stance on torture methods the military should use against terrorists and their families.
During the March 2nd Fox News GOP debate, Trump defended the use of water boarding, torture and the killing of terrorists’ families, TIME reports. He has made similar statements before while on the campaign trail.
“They won’t refuse," Trump said at the debate when asked about the ability of the military to defy unlawful orders to torture or kill civilians. "They’re not going to refuse, believe me."
You look at the Middle East, they’re chopping off heads. "They’re chopping off the heads of Christians and anybody else that happens to be in the way. They’re drowning people in steel cages, and now we’re talking about water boarding. … It’s fine, and if we want to go stronger, I’d go stronger too. Because frankly, that’s the way I feel. ... We should go for water boarding, and we should go tougher than waterboarding.
Trump received heavy criticism for his comments, which may have prompted him to change his position the day after the debate.
“[I will] use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies," Trump said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. "I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters."
“I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities,” he added.
Katrina Pierson, a spokeswoman for Trump, said his debate comments were misunderstood.
"He realized they took him literally, that's why he put out the statement," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room." "What he's saying is that he wants to go after them with the full force of everything we have."