In a passionate address Saturday, Sen. John McCain promised that the U.S. would not reinstate waterboarding as an acceptable interrogation technique under any circumstance.
The Arizona Republican made it clear that any attempt by the new Trump administration to bring back waterboarding, a procedure which simulates drowning, would be immediately challenged in court, according to The Associated Press.
“I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do, or anybody else wants to do,” McCain said to applause at a security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “We will not waterboard. We will not torture.” McCain then went on to explain how, in using torture techniques, the U.S. abandons its moral superiority and loses standing in the world.
“What does it say about America if we’re going to inflict torture on people?” he asked.
McCain’s stance breaks with that of President-elect Donald Trump, who repeatedly advocated the use of waterboarding and other torture techniques during his presidential campaign.
Trump wrote an op-ed for USA Today in April in which he praised the torture techniques used by the George W. Bush administration after 9/11 and promised to do “whatever it takes” to protect the country as commander in chief.
McCain himself endured torture during his five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
The senator also used Saturday’s panel to declare his support forthe North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Renegotiating or abandoning both international trade deals was a major part of Trump’s presidential campaign platform.