In the wake of another terrorist attack, this one killing at least 36 people and wounding over 100 at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, Donald Trump wasted no time in returning to a familiar well of atrocity and aggression. In a speech to supporters in Clairesville, Ohio just hours after the attack, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee reiterated his past support for waterboarding, and called for the United States needs to match ISIS beheading-for-beheading.
“We’re living in Medieval times,” Trump said of the ISIS atrocities, and added “We have to stop it. We have to be so strong, we have to fight so viciously and so violently, because we’re dealing with violent people, vicious people.”
He then explicitly indicated that the United States should respond in kind:
So we can’t do waterboarding but they can do chopping off heads, drowning people in steel cages. They can do whatever they want to do. They eat dinner like us. Can you imagine them sitting around the table or wherever they’re eating their dinner, talking about the Americans don’t do waterboarding and yet we chop off heads. They probably think we’re weak, we’re stupid, we don’t know what we’re doing, we have no leadership. You know, you have to fight fire with fire.
The crowd responded with chants of “USA! USA!”, but they’re hardly alone. Trump received poor marks from voters over his response to the Orlando mass shooting, but a new Quinnipiac poll has Trump almost tied with Hillary Clinton, and favored over her 52-39 on the question of who would more effective handling ISIS. Trump’s Orlando response had more to do with congratulating himself and banning Muslims, a harder sell beyond his core Republican supporters, but tough talk feels good to people, even if it’s insane, nonsensical tough talk.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.