Going against the GOP’s rhetorical grain is Trump’s main rival for the party’s nomination, Ted Cruz. “Torture is wrong, unambiguously. Period. The end,” the Texas senator said in December 2014. Cruz, whose own father was tortured in Cuba, reaffirmed that position last month, saying that “America does not need torture to protect ourselves.”
But even Cruz’s seemingly definitive rhetoric leaves key questions about his position unanswered.
“He says he opposes torture, but he does not say what constitutes torture,” said Jack Goldsmith, an opponent of waterboarding and other severe interrogation tactics who headed the office of legal counsel in the George W. Bush White House.
“None of the candidates come out in favor of ‘torture,’” Goldsmith said. But, he added, after reviewing several campaign statements provided by POLITICO, most “signal that they would ramp up interrogation, possibly to waterboarding.”