Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona will aggressively push back against any attempt by President-elect Donald Trump to reinstate waterboarding as a U.S. interrogation technique. The decorated Navy veteran had suffered years of torture while in captivity.
On Nov. 19, McCain asserted that he would oppose any measures to bring back waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates the sensation of drowning.
“I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do,” McCain said during a sit-down at the Halifax international security forum, The Guardian reports.
President Barack Obama ended the practice of waterboarding by designating the interrogation technique torture, which is forbidden by international law, according to The Washington Post.
In February, President-elect Trump stated that he would resurrect the banned torture technique during a GOP primary debate.
“I would bring back waterboarding,” Trump said, according to The Hill. “And I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
The business mogul added that torture techniques are justified when “In the Middle East, we have people chopping the heads of Christians.”
Following that debate, Trump pledged on the campaign trail that he would reinstate the interrogation technique even if it is objectively torture, which would violate international law.
“Don’t tell me it doesn’t work — torture works,” Trump said during a campaign rally in South Carolina.
In 2008, McCain opposed waterboarding and other torture methods during his run as the GOP nominee, asserting that the practice was immoral and ineffective.
Now, despite endorsing Trump during the general election presidential race, the chairman of the Senate armed services committee has made it clear that he will not support any efforts by the Trump administration to use torture in order to extract information.
“We will not waterboard,” McCain concluded. “We will not do it.”
McCain is a former POW, having suffered prolonged torture when he was held captive in North Vietnam. During his captivity, he was confined to solitary confinement for two years, according to Politico.
In July 2015, Trump dismissed McCain’s status as a war hero after the Republican senator was critical of his rhetoric.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
The president-elect avoided being drafted into the Vietnam War by receiving four student deferments between 1964 through 1968. He received further medical deferments after graduating, citing that he had a bone spur in his foot.