In picking his nominees for top cabinet positions, President-elect Donald Trumpappears not to have fully understood the positions of everyone he selected. This led to at least one major surprise, when Gen. James Mattis, a former high-ranking Marine turned Defense Secretary nominee, sat Trump down to explain to him why torture doesn’t work and is a bad idea.
Trump admitted he was “surprised” to learn Mattis was against torture, and after Trump had campaigned heavily on a pro-torture position, he backed off the pledge to bring back torture after speaking with Mattis, reflecting not only how strongly the general feels about the position, but how convincing he apparently is at arguing the point.
After all, Trump was not just on the fence about torture, he argued during the campaign that “only a stupid person” wouldn’t support torture, and insisted that even if it didn’t work the US should torture people anyhow just because they probably deserve it.
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