While Donald Trump has captured the White House for Republicans, the Republican party’s leadership remains divided on their support of the President-elect’s policies — particularly as it relates to Trump’s support of torture.
During the Halifax International Security Forum, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gave a speech where he vowed to stand against Trump’s promise to bring back torture to America’s repertoire of interrogation tools when it comes to interviewing terrorist suspects. McCain declared in no uncertain terms that “I don’t give a damn what the president wants to do. We will not waterboard. We will not torture people.”
McCain has been a vocal opponent of Trump’s candidacy and rescinded his endorsement of Trump a month before the presidential election. McCain has good reason to be an opponent of torture as he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five and a half years and was tortured throughout his captivity. This was a flashpoint during the campaign when Trump mocked McCain’s status as a war hero, saying “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
During the forum, McCain was pressed on his meaning of standing against Trump’s torture policies and McCain vowed if Trump ever began a policy of using torture as an interrogation method, he would see to it that Trump was dragged into a courtroom:
If they started waterboarding, I swear to you that we’d have them in court in a New York minute.
The entire scenario wasn’t entirely gloom and doom, and McCain even cracked a coy joke. He was asked if Trump had offered him a job in his new administration and McCain smiled and said, “Missed that.”
Under the Bush-Cheney administration, the CIA spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to build secret black sites for the specific purpose of torturing terror suspects in flagrant violation of international law. The use of “enhanced interrogation methods” as they called them are now illegal, thanks to President Obama, and many military members have already sworn to disobey orders to commit torture.
McCain presents a schism within the Republican establishment who wish to stay loyal to their party while standing against the barbaric policies of Trump. The two scenarios may prove themselves to be incompatible as Trump has shown himself to be a man who demands unflinching loyalty regardless of where his lunacy leads.
There is already an ongoing fight between Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, with the implication Ryan will face repercussions for “disloyalty” for Ryan’s criticism of Trump’s appalling behavior during the campaign. If McCain continues on speaking out against Trump, it is all but assured that he too will face a similar scenario. As the left begins to organize to halt Trump’s presidency, a civil war inside the Republican Party will continue to fester and rage, further impeding the party and Trump’s power.
Watch the full forum below:
Lou Colagiovanni is an investigative journalist living in Las Vegas who specializes in politics and crime. His work has been highlighted all over the world and he is regularly featured on television and radio.