Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump really likes waterboarding. He has waxed poetic about the practice at many junctures of this race. However, retired four-star general and former director of both the NSA and CIA Mike Hayden appears to like neither waterboarding nor Trump. On Thursday, Hayden told CBS's This Morning that if Trump wants to waterboard suspected terrorists, he’ll need to bring his own bucket.
“He has said that [we need to bring back waterboarding],” Hayden said. “I have said we’re not going to do that. And that is not disowning what the agency did before. But the law has changed.” Hayden then doubled down on previous comments that if Trump wants to waterboard, he’ll need to bring his own bucket, and declared that the CIA director would have to “man up and simply say, 'For the protection of my officers, I’m afraid, Mr. President, that I cannot direct that.'”
Trump, a noted fan of both talking tough and talking about talking tough, has re-upped his anti-Muslim rhetoric in the wake of the massacre at Orlando gay nightclub Pulse, which is considered the worst American mass shooting in modern history. After the recent attacks on Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, which killed 39, Trump again pushed for waterboarding, saying we needed to “fight fire with fire.” But he seems increasingly hard-pressed to find others in government who agree.
Hayden confirmed he could not support Trump as president, just in case that wasn’t already clear. He said he feared that Trump proposed "courses of action that I think would be destructive for our country and our allies and the world. And I see no tacking back after securing the nomination, no learning curve coming back with that was this, this is now." To add insult to injury, Hayden made it clear he wasn't a lone wolf in this assessment, adding,"It represents the majority of opinion in that part of the field that I communicate with."
It’s hard to be an effective president and commander in chief if no one wants to work with you, or even listen to you. Trump has criticized President Obama as “unconstitutional” for essentially going rogue and working without the support of a hostile Congress in the last year or so, but he himself looks to be set up for much, much more opposition, and from both parties. Hayden said that Trump’s choice of words has “elevated” terrorists “to this realm where they can claim strategic success.”
This comes directly on the heels of arresting Pew findings showing Trump’s international favorability to be in the toilet. Foreign leaders don’t want to work with him, the same as domestic leaders. Trump speaks often of making the very best deals, but it’s hard to make deals if there’s no one left to make them with.