U.S. presidential front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump responded to the Belgian terror attacks by calling in to the Today show on Tuesday, March 22, and sharing how they would address the situation if they were in the West Wing.
Trump kicked off the conversation early Tuesday by discussing the news with Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer. “So, let’s go to the hypothetical situation: President Trump gets that 2 a.m. phone call. What would you have done?” Today cohost Lauer asked the GOP frontrunner. “What would you have done first as president of the United States if you had got this call?”
“First of all, this is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. I’ve been talking about it much more than anyone else,” Trump replied. “It’s probably why I’m number one in the polls. We have to have strong borders, we have to be very vigilant and careful of who we allow into our country. Uh, I know Brussels well, and Brussels is a total mess.”
Lauer then repeated the question and asked Trump for his hypothetical reaction as president. “I would be very, very tough on the borders and not allowing certain people into this country without absolute perfect documentation,” Trump replied.
The real estate mogul also shared his thoughts on torture and waterboarding, saying Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam should be waterboarded until answers are divulged. “I would say they should be able to do whatever they have to do to get this information,” Trump continued. “The waterboarding would be fine … We can’t be soft and weak, which is what we are now. When I say ‘we,’ I’m talking about other countries also.”
During the first hour, Lauer noted that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton had declined to call in to the show. An hour later, the former secretary of state evidently changed her mind and called in to share her thoughts on how the situation should be handled from the Oval Office.
“We’ve got to be absolutely smart and strong and steady in how we respond,” Clinton said. “It’s unrealistic to say we’re going to completely shut down our borders to everyone.”
The foreign policy expert added to Guthrie and Lauer that the U.S. must support its allies at a sensitive time like this, rather than alienate supporting countries. “We’ve got to stand in solidarity with our European allies,” she said. “I know that Americans have every reason to be frightened by what they see. … We have to intensify our efforts to keep America safe.”
NBC News is reporting that at least 31 people were killed after multiple explosions in Brussels, including at a check-in area of the airport and at the metro. The country’s terror level was raised to 4, the highest number, and public transportation across the city was shut down. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called the terrorist attacks a “dark moment for our country.”