This morning, explosions at the airport and a metro station in Brussels killed dozens of people and injured dozens more. The dust is still settling, but the U.S. presidential candidates are already beginning to respond with calls for border control, solidarity, and waterboarding. Here’s what they have to say.
As is his wont, the Republican frontrunner called in to a morning talk show to bloviate after news of the attack came in. Speaking with the hosts of Today, Trump used the occasion to beat his usual horses, arguing mostly for stricter borders. “I’d be not allowing certain people into this country without absolute perfect documentation. We’re allowing thousands of people already, Matt, to come into our country.” (Trump, of course, has proposed a ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S., and is strongly against the U.S. allowing Syrian refugees.)
“Waterboarding—if it was up to me, and if we change the laws, or have the laws, waterboarding would be fine,” Trump said when asked what he would do to get information from Salah Abdeslam, the suspected Paris terrorist attacker who was captured in Belgium last week. “If they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding. You have to get the information from these people,” he added.
Trump also managed to work in a mention that he is “number one in the polls.”
Clinton spoke with Good Morning America over the phone, telling the hosts “We’ve got to strengthen our resolve” against terrorism. She also rebuked Trump’s proposition that waterboarding is a solution.
“Our best and bravest intel and military leaders will tell you that torture is not effective. It puts soldiers, and increasingly, our own civilians in danger. I do believe we have to give our law enforcement and intelligence professionals all the tools they need to do the job, to keep Americans safe, but I don’t think they need to resort to torture. That’s like an open recruitment poster for more terrorists, and it’s wrong, and it doesn’t work,” she said.
Cruz released a brief statement on Facebook this morning which focused obliquely on President Obama. “Radical Islam is at war with us. For over seven years we have had a president who refuses to acknowledge this reality,” he wrote.
Update: Ted Cruz also called for police patrols in American Muslim neighborhoods. “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,” he wrote in a second statement.
The Ohio governor released a statement about the attack on Twitter. “We must also redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil,” he wrote.
“The international community must come together to destroy ISIS,” Bernie Sanders said in a statement.
Sanders’ statement in full:
We offer our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this barbaric attack and to the people of Brussels who were the target of another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. We stand with our European allies to offer any necessary assistance in these difficult times.
Today’s attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS. This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue.