Macho Enough to Torture?: Cruz, Trump, and Rubio All Weigh In
At this point, the disbelief that Donald Trump could actually win a primary has worn off. But worry still remains for many, especially after hearing about Trump’s support of waterboarding and other more severe forms of torture. Other candidates such as Cruz and Rubio were also in support of waterboarding in the most recent Republican debate. But these candidates’ desire to be tough on terrorism seems to only be a test of masculinity, leaving basic human rights unrecognized.
At recent debates, Ted Cruz spoke in support of waterboarding in an all-means-necessary approach to interrogation; Rubio took a similar approach. The collective opinions of these three candidates has ignited backlash from their own party, and again raises awareness of the dissonance within the Republican Party as its candidates endorse compromising measures. Senator John McCain had to distance himself from the words of these candidates, and remind them of the severe impact of torture. He responded to their statements in a Senate address, highlighting:
It might be easy to dismiss this bluster as cheap campaign rhetoric, but these statements must not go unanswered because they mislead the American people about the realities of interrogation, how to gather intelligence, what it takes to defend our security, and at the most fundamental level what we are fighting for as a nation.
One American already mislead by these comments is none other than Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump. In defense of his father’s torture stance, the younger Trump actually said that waterboarding was no different from hazing in frat houses across American college campuses.
These comments had several people doing a double take just to ensure he actually said those words. Eric Trump and these candidates want people to see torture as a sign of toughness, and candidates are able to capitalize off the fear and tragedy of Americans after terrorism attacks.
Infighting between the candidates over their toughness has occurred too–Donald Trump actually laughed when one of his supporters called Ted Cruz a pussy during his speech because Cruz’s support of waterboarding did not measure up to the strictness of Trump’s future plans for torture. After laughing, he went on to repeat the words of his supporter to his entire audience after laughing.
This long back and forth over the use of torture begs the question: is this a race for presidency or a contest in masculinity?