Arizona Senator John McCain, a leading Republican on national security matters, said on Saturday that he does not care what President-elect Donald Trump says, the United States will not reinstate waterboarding.
McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said at the Halifax International Security Forum that any attempt to bring back harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding would quickly be challenged in court. “I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do. We will not waterboard. We will not do it,” said McCain.
The Arizona Senator has had an icy relationship with Trump. Early in the Republican primaries, Trump claimed that McCain was not a war hero because he was captured. While the Senator eventually endorsed Trump when he became the GOP nominee, he withdrew that nomination when an ‘Access Hollywood’ recording was leaked where Trump was heard making extremely lewd remarks and admitting to what would amount to sexual assault.
During the campaign, the New York Businessman said that he would push to change laws that prohibit waterboarding, which was used against suspected terrorists during the Bush administration.
However, on Saturday, McCain said that waterboarding does not work and makes it hard for the U.S. to claim moral superiority. “What does it say about America if we’re going to inflict torture on people.”
The 2008 GOP presidential nominee also expressed support for the North American Free Trade Agreement and said that the U.S. should not back out of the yet to be implemented Trans Pacific Partnership. Trump has railed against U.S. trade deals with particular emphasis on NAFTA and the TPP, vowing to renegotiate or nix them altogether. The Senator strongly condemned Trump’s policy on Saturday, saying:
“I think we are going to pay a terrible price for abandoning the TPP. You are going to see Chinese assertion of economic influence in the region, and possible dominance. All of these countries are now going to join with China in trade agreements and we’re going to be out in the cold. Historians will judge us very harshly.”