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Trump: Going Past Waterboarding 'Wouldn't Bother Me a Little Bit'

Trump: Going Past Waterboarding 'Wouldn't Bother Me a Little Bit'
 Donald Trump (Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 07 February 2016 02:12 PM

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Sunday it wouldn't bother him in the least to re-institute waterboarding of terrorism suspects or to go even further.

Trump first made the comments at Saturday's GOP debate in New Hampshire, where he said that he would try to get Congress to change the law it passed outlawing the practice, but added he would be willing to do "a hell of a lot worse."

He was asked on two Sunday morning news shows what he meant by that, but declined to elaborate.

Both ABC's "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos and NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd asked if that didn't mean the United States was stooping to the level of the Islamic State (ISIS.)

"Do we win by being more like them?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"Yes, I'm sorry. You have to do it that way," Trump said. "I'm not sure everybody agrees with me. I'm sure people don't. We're living in a time that's as evil as any time that has ever been."

On "Meet the Press," Trump listed off the 9/11 attacks, Paris and others, then said, "you could go a step beyond waterboarding, it wouldn't bother me a little bit. "

Trump admitted to Jake Tapper, host of CNN's "State of the Union," his ground game might have fallen short in Iowa, where he finished second to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, but on "Meet the Press," he blamed his staff for not spending enough money.

"I gave them unlimited money," Trump said. "I said, Do what you have to do.'"

In Tuesday's New Hampshire primaries, independents can vote in the Democratic or Republican primary, leaving some who are angry at the current system choosing between Trump, the billionaire real estate developer, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist running as a Democrat.

Trump told CNN that both do agree on one issue: trade.

"We both agree that we're getting ripped off by China, by Japan, by Mexico, by everybody we do business with," he said. "The difference is I can do something about it. I'm going to renegotiate those trade deals and make them good, and believe me, they're going to be really good. … Bernie can't do anything about it because it's not his thing. … I'll create absolute gold out of those deals … and Bernie will just talk about how bad they are."

Stephanopoulos asked Trump about a statement he made a week ago on "Fox News Sunday" that he would appoint Supreme Court justices to overturn the recent ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

Last week, Trump made a contradictory statement during a local New Hampshire interview. When asked "When president Trump is in office, can we look for more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians?"

"You can," Trump told the interviewer. "We're going to bring people together. That's your thing. Other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together. If we don't, we're not going to have a country anymore."

"But you want them to overturn the Supreme Court decision," Stephanopoulos challenged.

"I would appoint them and see how they vote," Trump said.

"How does that move us to equality?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"We'll find out," Trump said, though he said he plans to appoint conservative judges who stand against same-sex marriage. Trump said that it ultimately "depends on the judge."

As for gays and lesbians who don't feel such appointments would unify the country, Trump said, "I understand that. It's a long way off."

NBC's Chuck Todd asked Trump about a recent Washington Post story saying he has been much tougher on women journalists than men.

"I think I've been tougher on you than any human being on Earth in terms of reporter," Trump told Todd, whom he has repeatedly criticized in the past, even referring to him as "sleepy eyes."

Trump agreed that the perception is likely because of his criticism of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who asked him a question about his treatment of women in the first GOP debate.

"Look, she gave me a really phony question. It was a setup question," Trump said. "It wasn't even a question. It was a statement. It was inappropriate. And I hit her hard. I think that's fine. But if you gave me that question, I'd hit you the same way. You are the perfect one — you have been, you know, under fire from me for a long time. And you are far from a woman. That I can tell you."

Trump said there are plenty of women in journalism for whom he has great respect.

"There's one sitting right over there in the beautiful red dress, do you see that woman over there? I have great respect for that woman," Trump said. "I don't know if she knows that I'm talking about her. I'm talking about you. I would never do that to you."

"I believe he's referring to Andrea Mitchell," Todd told the audience.

"I'm referring to Andrea," Trump confirmed.

On other issues, Trump said:

• Other candidates are now joining him in his pledge to build a border wall. "First of all, they wouldn't even know how to build a wall. They wouldn't get it. Their wall would be five feet high."
• On the eminent domain issue in which he fought a 75-year-old widow for her house in the 1990s. Trump said he let the court ruling against him stand rather than fighting it higher. When Todd noted it was a New York State Supreme Court ruling, Trump said, "We could have gone higher. I decided not to do it."
• On Iowa's caucus system: "I like this system much better in New Hampshire where you go out, you like somebody, you vote."
• On adding more traditional campaign activities to his nontraditional campaign: "I think you'll see it here."
• On not taking a one-term pledge if elected: "If I'm doing a good job I'll keep going."

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GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Sunday it wouldn't bother him in the least to re-institute waterboarding of terrorism suspects or to go even further. Trump first made the comments at Saturday's GOP debate in New Hampshire, where he said that he would try to...
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Sunday, 07 February 2016 02:12 PM
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