Donald Trump has received no shortage of criticism for his often contradictory and sometimes wild-eyed views on national security and foreign policy. His most recent policy proposals will likely leave not only his detractors but large chunks of the voting public scratching their heads.
The Republican frontrunner, who was outhustled by Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) for delegates in Colorado over the weekend, sought to regain control of the narrative before New York’s April 19 primary by talking tough about Iran and the $150 billion in assets Tehran will be able to access as part of the sanctions relief from last year’s landmark nuclear agreement.
Speaking at a campaign event in Rochester, New York, on Sunday, Trump lamented that the Islamic Republic won’t be able to spend its windfall in the U.S. because of Washington's ongoing economic restrictions on Tehran.
"Now I think that prohibition is great," he said in comments first reported by CBS. "But when we hand them $150 billion, we should take the prohibition off for a little while, don't you think? Let them buy from Rochester, New York. We don't care if they're from Iran, right?"
“We’ll sell them missiles that don’t work correctly, right? Let them sue us. Tell them to sue us. Oh, I’m sorry they don’t work. Gee, that’s too bad. We’ll take in about $12 billion for missiles and they’ll say these missiles are terrible. And I’ll say, ‘Yup, that was the purpose of it,’” said Trump.
Announcing his strategy is a surprise negotiating tactic for the real estate mogul, especially considering that he’s chastised President Obama and his fellow GOP rivals for spelling out how they would deal with threats like the Islamic State or Russia’s increasingly belligerent behavior.
Now that Trump has revealed his scheme to cheat Iran out of billions of dollars for faulty weapons, it’s unclear how he would get Iran to sign off on such a deal.
The former reality TV star didn’t stop there. On Monday morning, Trump chided CIA chief John Brennan for vowing his agency wouldn’t revive the practice of waterboarding, even if a future president demanded it.
“I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about because this institution needs to endure,” Brennan told NBC News.
Trump called the spy master’s comments “ridiculous.”
"I mean, they chop off heads and they drown people in cages with 50 in a cage in big steel, heavy cages, drop ‘em right into the water, drown people and we can’t waterboard and we can’t do anything,” he said in a phone interview with Fox & Friends.
“We’re playing on different fields, and we have a huge problem with ISIS, which we can’t beat. And the reason we can’t beat them is because we can’t use strong tactics, whether it’s this or another thing," Trump said.
"So I think his comments are ridiculous. Can you imagine these ISIS people sitting around, eating and talking about this country won’t allow waterboarding and they just chopped off 50 heads,” he added.
The statements come as a new Associated Press-GFK poll shows that voters trust Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton more than Trump on a range of issues, including on national security (37 to 31 percent) and dealing with the U.S. image abroad.