Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is seizing upon the attacks in Brussels to again call for the Mexican border to be closed, Muslims to be banned from entering the country, and terrorism suspects to be waterboarded.
Asked during a Tuesday morning Fox and Friends appearance about how he’d respond to the attacks as president, Trump said he’d “close up our borders… until we figure out what’s going on.”
“We have to be smart in the United States,” Trump added. “We’re taking in people without real documentation. We don’t know where they are coming from, we don’t know where they’re from, who they are… they could be ISIS, they could be ISIS related.”
Despite what Trump says, Department of Homeland Security officials have repeatedly maintained there’s no credible evidence that members of ISIS or other known terrorists have entered or plan to enter the United States by land at the southern U.S. border. And out of the 784,000 refugees resettled in the country since September 11, 2001, not a single one has been arrested in connection with a credible plot to attack the United States.
Here a portion of Trump’s interview:
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) March 22, 2016
The Brussels attacks come just days after a raid in the city resulted in the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, who is suspected of plotting the November terrorist attacks in Paris. During a subsequent appearance on NBC’s Today Show, Trump reiterated that he’d support breaking international law by waterboarding Abdeslam, despite the fact that the practice has been denounced by interrogators and typically doesn’t produce good intelligence.
“Frankly, the waterboarding, if it was up to me, and if we changed the laws or had the laws, waterboarding would be fine,’’ Trump said. “If they could expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding. You have to get the information from these people.”
To date, all of the attackers identified in the Paris attacks, Abdeslam included, are European nationals.
On Fox, Trump opined that the Paris and Brussels attacks are “just the beginning.”
“I’m a pretty good prognosticator. Just watch what happens over the years, it won’t be pretty,” Trump said. “We’re going to get worse and worse. At this point, we cannot allow these people to come into this country, I’m sorry.”
He reiterated that gloomy prediction during yet another TV appearance on CBS:
"This is going to happen in the United States," Trump says bluntly on CBS News
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 22, 2016
Trump seems to recognize that fearmongering and talking tough about terrorism are good politics for him.
“It’s at least a small part of the reason why I’m the number one frontrunner,” Trump said on Fox, referring to his status as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. “People are very concerned about this, and they’re very concerned about the security of this country.”
Asked during his Fox appearance about what else he’d do in response to the attacks in addition to closing the southern border and banning Muslims, Trump said he give the American people a “pep talk.”
“I guess I would just talk to the people and give them, frankly, a pep talk,” Trump said. “We need spirit in our country, okay.”