Speed Reads

flip-floppers gonna flip-flop

Donald Trump backtracks on torture

Donald Trump dramatically scaled back his comments concerning torture on Friday, marking the Republican frontrunner's most recent move to soften his policies. While Trump has advocated on multiple occasions to "bring back waterboarding" and "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding," he said he would in fact respect international laws that govern the use of torture.

In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Trump explained 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."

However, at Thursday night's Republican debate Trump held fast to his threats to do "worse" than waterboarding. Trump has also recently said that killing the families of terrorists was necessary to stop terrorism — an act that qualifies as a war crime and that former CIA Director Michael Hayden has said would be flatly refused by the U.S. military.

"The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families," Trump said in December.

But in his statement Friday, it appeared Trump had changed his mind. "It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities," he said.