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While no one immediately claimed responsibility for the fatal explosions that rocked Brussels on Tuesday morning and there’s no evidence linking the Paris terror attacks suspect arrested Friday to the incident, Donald Trump is certain that what happened in Brussels is “retaliation” for Salah Abdeslam’s arrest.
“These attacks were based on him,” Trump later said. “He probably knew these attacks were going to occur.”
Calling in to ABC News, the GOP presidential frontrunner said he would use “maximum interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, if Abdeslam were in U.S. custody. He went on to say he would “change the laws to go beyond waterboarding.” When anchor George Stephanopoulos pointed out that waterboarding is not within the U.S. law right now, Trump said, “Well they say it probably isn’t because Obama has wielded it out.”
He continued, “From what everybody tells me, waterboarding is not allowed to be used right now. I would expand it. I would have waterboarding and I’d go a step further.”
Trump also pointed out that terrorists “don’t play by the rules,” but the U.S. does, suggesting that America might have to change that approach to defeat terrorist forces and prevent incidents like those in Belgium from happening in the U.S.
“If we had techniques that were strong and that we should have, I mean we play by the rules, they don’t play by the rules,” Trump said. “If they’re not going to play by the rules and we’re going to play by the rules, we’re not going to have too many victories. We could have probably cut this off if we had the right technique and they used the right technique on him.”
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton also called into ABC News and said she disagreed with Trump’s waterboarding solution.
“I do believe we have to give law enforcement and our 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,” she said. “That’s like an open recruitment poster for more terrorists.”
Trump also called into Fox & Friends, and while he did not specifically mention Muslims — he’d called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. following previous terrorist attacks — Trump said America had to be even more aware about who enters the country.
“It’s a total disaster and we have to be very careful in the United States,” he said. “We have to be very, very vigilant as to who we allow into this country.”
He added, “I would close up our borders to people until we figure out what is going on.”
Trump also tweeted early Tuesday morning that the “U.S. must be vigilant and smart!” When asked what that would mean specifically if he were in the White House, he told Stephanopoulos, “it would mean specifically that we would strengthen up our borders and would be very careful who we allow into our country.”
Do you all remember how beautiful and safe a place Brussels was. Not anymore, it is from a different world! U.S. must be vigilant and smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2016
Clinton again disagreed with his outlook and said the vetting process for those entering the country must be more stringent, but closing the borders was not the answer.
“Our country’s got a lot of problems. We have a lot of people in our country now that probably and definitely have the same feelings and the same feeling of hate as the people in Brussels,” Trump continued. “George, I was in Brussels many times over the years and it used to be a safe and beautiful city and then it really changed…now it’s like an armed camp…before this morning’s attack…. Brussels is different and Paris is different and the police don’t have control over it anymore, and it’s a very sad thing that’s happening.”
Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton called in to ABC shortly after 9:30 a.m. ET.
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