Donald Trump has had an interesting couple of days. Late last week, in an interview with Yahoo News, the GOP frontrunner (who, you’re reminded, recently regained the lead in Iowa as voters support his hardline stance on immigration) indicated that he would not be opposed to creating a database for Muslims. He then suggested that special ID cards for Muslim Americans would not be out of the question in a Trump administration.
In the wake of the Paris attacks, Trump has also said “some” mosques need to be monitored and, in a rather unnerving bit of foreshadowing, told the press that “we’re going to have to do some things that were unthinkable a year ago.”
Of course this is Trump we’re talking about and true to his “teflon” reputation, nothing he says seems to hurt his poll numbers. In fact, after Ben Carson rolled back claims that he witnessed thousands of people in New Jersey celebrating as the twin towers fell in 2001, Trump not only refused to relinquish a similar claim, he actually doubled down on it, saying “I saw it on the news reels and I read about it on the internet” even as no one (and several organizations have tried) can find any footage to substantiate that assertion.
Well, just one day after heckling an admittedly obnoxious Black Lives Matter activist who disrupted a campaign rally in Alabama, The Donald was back at it on Monday, this time weighing in on waterboarding. In a hilarious speech to a lively crowd in Columbus, Ohio, Trump confirmed that he would indeed support waterboarding of terror suspects and a whole lot more - even if the tactics don’t do anything to facilitate the war on terror. Here’s more from The Guardian:
Donald Trump touted the benefits of waterboarding in a campaign rally on Monday night, telling a crowd that “you bet your ass” he would bring it back into use.
Addressing thousands of people in Columbus, Ohio, the Republican frontrunner praised waterboarding, an interrogation method that has been called torture. “I would approve more than that,” he said.
Trump told supporters: “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would. In a heartbeat. I would approve more than that. It works.”
The Republican frontrunner then added “… and if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway for what they do to us”.
Take a listen:
Yes, a Trump administration would torture people "even it doesn't work" because after all, they (and we wonder if Trump knows who "they" are getting weapons and money from) "chop off our young men's heads and put them on a stick."
Trump went on to talk a bit more about the anti-American, rooftop protests he "saw" in New Jersey on 9/11:
Trump also doubled down on his unproven claim that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Trump insisted there were “tailgate-style celebrations” on rooftops in Jersey City, New Jersey,
The author of the newspaper article that Trump has cited for that claim said on Monday that he does not remember any evidence of those celebrations.
But that matters not. This is about never letting a good crisis go to waste when you're running a campaign for elected office.
As far as scoring political points, the Paris attacks were in many ways the best thing that could have happened to Donald Trump. He's "strong" on immigration, "tough" on terror, and quite adept at whipping voters into what amounts to a nationalist frenzy.
Then again, when you look out at both the GOP and the Democratic field, there are no "good" choices, only less bad ones. At least Trump is outside of America's deeply entrenched and famously corrupt political aristocracy.