Donald Trump has pledged to bring back waterboarding. In fact, the GOP front-runner has pledged to subject suspected terrorists to “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” and has strongly implied that anyone who has second thoughts about reinstituting military torture is a walking, talking piece of female genitalia.
It may sound shocking for a major presidential candidate to take such a position. But the Donald’s son Eric Trump went on Fox News Monday night and put the candidate’s comments into a whole new light.
“You see these terrorists that are flying planes into buildings, right?” Trump the Younger asked Greta Van Susteren. “You see our cities getting shot up in California. You see Paris getting shot up. And then somebody complains when a terrorist gets waterboarded, which quite frankly is no different than what happens on college campuses and frat houses every day.”
Perhaps what we’re dealing with here isn’t a nation slouching toward barbarity, but merely a misunderstanding: If Eric Trump thinks waterboarding happens on college campuses every day, surely he and his father are just confused about the meaning of that word. Maybe the Trumps think that waterboarding is basically synonymous with funneling beer?
As tempting as this interpretation may be, there is some evidence that “enhanced interrogation techniques” are actually, regularly deployed on college campuses. As Gawker notes, a fraternity at the University of Houston was believed to have been suspended after waterboarding its pledges with alcohol last year. In 2012, the New York Times reported that students at Binghamton University were also “hazed” via that internationally outlawed form of torture.
It’d be comforting to think that Eric Trump is deluded about what goes on at our institutions of higher learning. But it’s also possible that growing up in the Donald’s shadow made the Georgetown graduate uniquely aware of all the darkness in this world.