Weighing in on the Brussels terror attacks killing at least 31 people, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said the Belgian authorities should perform “the waterboarding” and “more” to disrupt future possible attacks.
“The waterboarding would be fine. You could expand the laws more than waterboarding to get the information from these people,” Trump said on the TODAY Show.
“If it was up to me and if we changed the laws or have the laws, waterboarding would be find and if they want to, as long as its, you know we work within the laws, they don’t working within the laws,” he added.
At a Republican presidential debate on March 4 in Detroit, Trump also endorsed torture techniques “way worse” than waterboarding despite being illegal.
“If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about,” he said at the debate referring to military and intelligence officials even if it breaks U.S. and international law. “They won’t refuse, they’re not gonna refuse me,” he said.
Former top military officials came out and said that members of the military would not conduct illegal activity.
“The waterboarding” is the only thing Trump said he would do if something like the Brussels attack happened while he was in the White House. Instead he turned to the central tenets of his campaign, insinuating that it would never happen under a Trump presidency because he would be “very, very tough on the borders.” And he also mentioned his polls numbers.
“You know this is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart because I have been talking about it more than anybody else, and it’s why I’m probably number one in the polls, because I say we have to have strong border, we have to be very vigilant and careful who we allow into our country,” Trump said.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton also weighed in on TODAY.
“It’s unrealistic to say we’re going to completely shut down our borders to everyone. That would stop commerce, for example, and that’s not in anybody’s interest,” she told Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer in her first interview since the attack.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz held a press availability to offer his reaction. Striking a similar tone to Trump on immigration, he blamed a “failed” immigration policy and said the same thing could happen in the U.S. with the admittance of Syrian refugees.
“It is time for us to implement serious vetting,” he said. “When you don’t define the enemy we don’t have designs to keep them out.”
But he said Trump is “wrong” to believe that U.S. should “retreat from NATO.”
“It would be a major victory for ISIS,” Cruz said.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich released this statement:
“We and our allies must rededicate ourselves to these values of freedom and human rights. We must utterly reject the use of deadly acts of terror,” he said in a statement. “We must also redouble our efforts with our allies to identify, root out and destroy the perpetrators of such acts of evil. We must strengthen our alliances as our way of life and the international system that has been built on our common values since the end of the Second World War comes under challenge from these and other actors of evil.”
Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders has not weighed in as of 10:07 a.m. EST.
This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.