From The Associated Press:
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday that his defense secretary’s opposition to torture would override his own belief that enhanced interrogation “does work,” quietly giving ground after growing public concern about a return to Bush-era use of waterboarding and other especially harsh procedures.
Trump made his comments at a news conference during which he held firm on another controversy – trade and illegal immigration from Mexico. He said he said had a “very good call” with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto earlier in the day but reaffirmed his belief that Mexico has “outnegotiated and beat us to a pulp” on trade – and that would change.
“We’re no longer going to be the country that doesn’t know what it’s doing,” Trump declared.
Two issues – torture and the U.S.-Mexico relationship – dominated the new president’s brief news conference alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May after their meeting at the White House. That was Trump’s first meeting with a foreign leader after becoming president last Friday.
Since taking office, Trump has signaled a renewed embrace of torture in the fight against Islamic extremism. But he said he would defer to the views of his defense secretary, James Mattis, who has questioned the effectiveness of such practices as waterboarding, which simulates drowning.
“He has stated publicly that he does not necessarily believe in torture or waterboarding, or however you want to define it. … I don’t necessarily agree. But I would tell you that he will override because I’m giving him that power. He’s an expert. He called Mattis a “general’s general” whom he would rely upon.
Later in the day, the president traveled to …