Republican candidate Donald Trump has made a swift U-turn on his endorsement of the use of torture on suspected terrorists once elected. The White House hopeful had told a forum in Detroit that he would order "a hell of a lot worse" than waterboarding to those arrested on suspicion of terror offences.
During the Republican debate in Michigan he told the crowd in typical brash style: "Can you imagine these people, these animals, over in the Middle East that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we're having a hard problem with waterboarding?" he declared.
The billionaire real estate developer has already made waves in the race to become the Republican candidate, with a string of outlandish outbursts. His tough stance was aimed at frustrated voters who believe that the rules of engagement against the Islamic State (Isis) group are too lenient.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal on 4 March, less than 24 hours after the comments, he appeared to backtrack, saying that he would not encourage the US military to break international laws once President.
The current Republican front runner affirmed that he would "use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies" in the statement.
Trump said: "I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters. I will not order a military officer to disobey the law."
Last week, a Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Michael Hayden said that the US army would flatly refuse to commit torture or kill family members of suspected terrorists if given the orders to do so. US and international law stipulates that the army should refuse to obey illegal orders.
Also on Friday, (4 March) an open letter was written by Republican foreign policy experts opposing his candidacy for the party because of his "embrace of the expansive use of torture". The New York-born reality star also recently dropped his stance advocating visa restrictions on highly skilled foreign workers.