Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told a group of reporters on March 22, “America has never engaged in torture and we’re not about to,” despite overwhelming evidence that the U.S. has engaged in extensive torture tactics (video below).
According to Mediaite.com, Cruz made the same statement on Fox News on March 23: "America has never engaged in torture and we're not about to."
However, the U.S. Senate Committee’s 2014 report on torture by the CIA under the Bush administration recounted numerous incidents of torture including: waterboarding, sleep deprivation, mock executions, rectal feedings, Russian Roulette, threats against families, physical abuse, forced stress positions on broken bones and the death of one suspect, noted Mic.com.
After the report was issued in December 2014, Cruz said during an appearance at the Heritage Foundation: “Torture is wrong. Unambiguously. Period. The end," noted The Intercept. “America does not need torture to protect itself.”
According to the news site, Cruz went on to vote for the McCain-Feinstein amendment in June 2015 that required U.S. overseas interrogators to obey the U.S. Army Field Manual, which forbids waterboarding and other previous CIA torture tactics.
However, Cruz said during a Republican presidential debate in February: "Under the law, torture is excruciating pain equivalent to losing organs and systems,” and added that waterboarding “does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture,” reported The Intercept.
According to Cruz's 2015 book "A Time for Truth," his father Rafael Cruz underwent torture which, by the GOP candidate's own definition in 2016, might not be considered torture:
They threw him in a rotten cell, acrid with the smell of blood, grime, and urine. Men with clubs beat him. His captors broke his nose when they kicked him in the head with their army boot. They bashed in his front teeth until they dangled from his mouth. In each round of beatings the pain was unbearable.