There’s a notion out there that, after talking with Gen. James Mattis, who might be the next secretary of defense, President-elect Donald Trump is suddenly opposed to waterboarding. In fact, this isn’t true at all.
The notion arose from a story in the New York Times about Trump’s hourlong meeting on Tuesday with the paper’s editors and reporters. (...)
However, the full transcript of the session, which the Times published on its website, reveals a different bottom line. Trump is quoted as telling the same story about Mattis, adding, “I was surprised [by his answer], because he’s known as being like the toughest guy.”
But Trump then goes on, “And when he said that, I’m not saying it changed my mind.” (Italics added.) Let me repeat that: Contrary to the Times’ own news story, it is not the case that “Mr. Trump suggested he had changed his mind about the value of waterboarding.” In fact, he explicitly said the opposite. Right after that point in the transcript, a Times editor adds the following, inparentheses and italics: “(Earlier, we mistakenly transcribed ‘changed my mind.’)” Hence the misreporting and the as-yet largely unrecognized misunderstanding. (...)
In short, Mattis exposed Trump to a different view of torture—a view, by the way, that most American generals and admirals hold. And, especially if he does appoint Mattis to his Cabinet, he might open himself to that view in making policy. However, Trump has not changed his mind on torture—which, since he enthusiastically supported it during the campaign, means he still supports it now.
por Miguel Madeira
Trump Has Not Changed His Mind About Torture (Slate):