In his first round of Sunday show interviews since the election, Vice President-elect Mike Pence did not rule out the possibility that President-elect Donald Trump would reinstate waterboarding as an interrogation technique.
On CBS Sunday, Face the Nation host John Dickerson brought up Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and his comments Saturday at the Halifax International Security Forum. At a panel discussion there, McCain vehemently insisted that any attempt to bring back waterboarding, which simulates drowning, would be quickly challenged in court, the AP reported.
Dickerson pointed out to Pence that Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), whom Trump plans to nominate as director of the CIA, supports Trump's position that perhaps waterboarding should be reinstated.
Dickerson then played a clip of McCain's remarks at the Halifax summit from Saturday.
"I don't give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do. We will not waterboard. We will not torture," McCain said, emphasizing certain words with a point of his finger, to applause. "My God, what does it say about America if we're going to inflict torture on people?"
Pence seemed unfazed after he watched the video.
"Well, I have great respect for Sen. McCain," he told Dickerson. "What I can tell you is that going forward, as he outlined in that famous speech in Ohio, is that a President Donald Trump is going to focus on confronting and defeating radical Islamic terrorism as a threat to this country."
"We're going to have a president again who will never say what we'll never do," Pence added.
Trump said during the campaign that he would reinstate the use of waterboarding against terrorism suspects - a practice that Congress made illegal after its use during the George W. Bush administration.
At a rally last November in Columbus, Ohio, Trump promised to reinstate waterboarding and perhaps methods beyond it.
"Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your a– I would - in a heartbeat," Trump said as the crowd cheered. "And I would approve more than that. Don't kid yourself, folks. It works, OK? It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn't work."
Trump repeated "It works" multiple times.
"Believe me, it works," he told the Columbus crowd. "And you know what? If it doesn't work, they deserve it anyway, for what they're doing. It works."
Trump doubled down on his pledge to bring back waterboarding at another rally a few months later in South Carolina, as well as in several interviews throughout the campaign.
However, former House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) said after the election that Trump's waterboarding remarks were just "campaign talk," according to CNN.
McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, has long spoken out against extreme interrogation techniques, which are banned under U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions.