- 07 февраля 2016, 05:55
- POLITICO. Top Stories
Ted Cruz doesn't think waterboarding meets the traditional definition of torture, but that doesn't mean he wants to see it widely practiced.
The Texas senator detailed his policy on waterboarding at length on Saturday night, delving into a policy position that separates him from much of the GOP field.
“Well under the definition of torture, no it’s not. Under the law, torture is excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing organs and systems," Cruz said in response to the direct question. "So under the definition it is not. It is enhanced interrogation,it is vigorous interrogation, but it does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture.”
Unlike several of his opponents, Cruz has stood firmly against torture as legally defined.
Asked whether he would bring it back, Cruz said he would not "bring it back in any sort of widespread use," noting that he co-sponsored legislation with Sen. John McCain "that would prohibit line officers from employing it, because I think bad things happen when enhanced interrogation is employed at lower levels.
"But when it comes to keeping this country safe, the commander in chief has inherent constitutional authority to keep this country safe," he said. "And so if it were necessary to prevent a city from, say, facing an imminent terrorist attack, you can rest assured that as commander in chief, I would use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe.”
Other candidates took a more bullish stance on waterboarding. Donald Trump, for example, called the situation in the Middle East akin to “medieval times” and wasn't shy about what he'd do about it.
“I’d bring back waterboarding," he said, "and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”