Trump makes U-turn on torture stance

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump pauses as he speaks to supporters during a campaign rally in Warren, Michigan, March 4, 2016. (Reuters)

US front-running Republican candidate Donald Trump abruptly backtracked Friday from statements endorsing the torture of terror suspects and the killing of their families, saying he would not order the US military to break international laws if elected president.

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Trump said he would “use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies.”

“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.”

Trump’s new position stands in contrast to remarks he made at a Republican debate less than 24 hours earlier, when he doubled down on previous pledges that, if elected, he would do “a hell of a lot worse” than waterboarding and said he had “no problem” with the targeting of terror suspects’ families.

He had previously argued the United States needed to “take out” the families of terrorists.

Trump’s tough talk has resonated with supporters and tapped into frustrations over the pace and rules of engagement of the US-led campaign against ISIS and other militants.

But his rhetoric drew broad condemnation from elsewhere, with observers saying the Pentagon would likely refuse to carry out any such illegal orders.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:50 - GMT 06:50
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