WSJ: Republican candidate Donald Trump reverses stance on torture

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Trump in S.C.: Waterboarding Works But It's Not Tough Enough

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump softened his stance on torture on Friday, saying he would not order the U.S. military to break international laws on how to treat terrorism suspects, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters," Trump said in a statement to the newspaper.

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"I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities."

In a Republican presidential debate on Thursday night, Trump indicated he might order the U.S. military to break the law on interrogation tactics including waterboarding.

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WSJ: Republican candidate Donald Trump reverses stance on torture
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum, left, and Donald Trump, center, laugh as they listens to Mike Huckabee during a campaign event on the campus of Drake University Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives at a campaign event on the campus of Drake University Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, center, and Mike Huckabee, left, applaud while listening to Rick Santorum during a campaign event on the campus of Drake University Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump applauds as Treasure Island Casino owner Phil Ruffin speaks, along with his wife, Oleksandra Nikolayenko, at a event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump laughs as Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum jokes about not being photographed in front of a Trump podium sign at a event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appears on stage with fellow candidates Mike Huckabee, left, and Rick Santorum at a Trump event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally raising funds for US military veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016. US Republicans scrambling to win the first contest in the presidential nomination race were gearing for battle at high-profile debate in Iowa, but frontrunner Donald Trump is upending the campaign by defiantly refusing to attend. Trump's gamble has left the presidential race in uncharted waters just days before Iowans vote on February 1, insisting he will not back down in his feud with debate host Fox News.Instead, the billionaire has doubled down, hosting a rogue, rival event for US military veterans at the same time that his own party is showcasing its candidates for president to all-important Iowa voters. / AFP / William EDWARDS (Photo credit should read WILLIAM EDWARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, waves during a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Trump, according to a flurry of early-state and national polls, is the overwhelming favorite of self-identified moderate and liberal Republican voters. Among more conservative voters, he often trails his chief rival for the nomination, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Trump, according to a flurry of early-state and national polls, is the overwhelming favorite of self-identified moderate and liberal Republican voters. Among more conservative voters, he often trails his chief rival for the nomination, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Protesters, left, are confronted by supporters during a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Trump, according to a flurry of early-state and national polls, is the overwhelming favorite of self-identified moderate and liberal Republican voters. Among more conservative voters, he often trails his chief rival for the nomination, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, waves, at event in support of veterans at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a event at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee waves to attendees before the start of a veterans event with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
People cheer before the arrival of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for at a rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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Waterboarding is the practice of pouring water over someone's face to mimic drowning as an interrogation tactic. Critics say it is torture, and Democratic President Barack Obama banned use of the method days after taking office in 2009.

Asked during the debate what he would do if the U.S. military refused to carry out such orders,Trump said, "They won't refuse. They're not going to refuse me. Believe me."

"Can you imagine? Can you imagine these people, these animals over in the Middle East, that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we're having a hard problem with waterboarding? We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding,"Trump said on the Fox News debate.

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