Donald Trump responded to Tuesday’s terror attack at a Turkish airport by calling for the U.S. to “fight fire with fire” when it comes to battling ISIS, including the use of waterboarding.
“You know, you have to fight fire with fire,” Trump told an Ohio rally as he described ISIS’s brutal tactics, including decapitating and burning prisoners to death. Trump reiterated that U.S. leadership is “weak” and “stupid” and that he is in favor of using waterboarding and “worse” torture methods on terror suspects.
Trump described waterboarding as “not the nicest thing, but it’s peanuts compared to many alternatives,” standing by previous comments he’s made on the practice, which have drawn sharp criticism throughout his presidential campaign not just from the left, but also from some fellow Republicans.
At least 36 people died and 147 others wounded in a terror attack at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, according to Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility.
In March, Trump called for broadening laws to allow for the use of torture, including but not limited to waterboarding. His stance has put him at odds with some members of his own party including Sen. John McCain.
Trump, whose foreign policy pitch to voters has included calls for a stronger response to ISIS, also spotlighted that toughness on Tuesday.
“Folks, there’s something going on that’s really, really bad. All right? It’s bad. And we better get smart and we better get tough,” he said. “Or we’re not going to have much of a country left, OK?”
He deemed American enemies in a statement to be “brutal and ruthless and will do anything to murder those who do not bend to their will.”
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton instead responded by calling for international cooperation.
Clinton said the attack meant the U.S. “cannot retreat.”
“We must deepen our cooperation with our allies and partners in the Middle East and Europe to take on this threat,” she said in a statement. “Such cooperation is essential to protecting the homeland and keeping our country safe.”
CNN’s Dan Merica and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.