Donald Trump

Trump Takes Enlightened Stance on Treatment of Terror Suspects

With Remarks on the Logic of Romney’s Criticism

Introduction and Summary by Karl Pomeroy
Quemado Institute
March 5, 2016

Donald Trump answers questions from the media after Fox News Republican debate, Detroit, March 3, 2016. (--Matt Vailliencourt/Michigan Daily)

Donald Trump answers questions from the media after Fox News Republican debate, Detroit, March 3, 2016. (–Matt Vailliencourt/Michigan Daily)

In my March 4 analysis of the GOP Fox News Debate, which was held on March 3 in Detroit, I praised Donald Trump’s policies in all areas but two.

First, the leading Republican candidate advocated waterboarding of terrorist suspects, an inhumane and ineffective practice. Second, he claimed Edward Snowden was a spy, despite evidence to the contrary. The latter issue is not really critical. I have faith Trump as President would treat Snowden fairly were the US patriot to return.

But Trump’s stance on waterboarding is indeed critical, especially for a candidate who advocates reason.

The good news is, the Republican front-runner has reversed his position. This is doubly welcome news. It would be hard to support a candidate who advocates enhanced interrogation, and it seemed out of place that a positive thinker like Trump could promote such a practice.

That Trump has reversed an opinion that was clearly wrong means that as President he will listen to reason. I cannot in living memory think of a US President—with the exception of Jimmy Carter—who responded thoughtfully to moral arguments. Typically, American leaders adopt brutal policies and adhere to them stubbornly in spite of public outcry, making Americans feel powerless against their own government.

This reversal is a bright spot on Donald Trump’s record. A brief news article documenting his reversal is followed by my own concluding remarks.

Trump Makes U-turn on Torture Stance

March 4, 2016

Donald Trump abruptly backtracked Friday from statements endorsing the torture of terror suspects and the killing of their families, saying he would not order the US military to break international laws if elected president.

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, the Republican White House frontrunner said he would “use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies. I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters. I will not order a military officer to disobey the law.”

Trump’s new position stands in contrast to remarks he made at a Republican debate less than 24 hours earlier, when he doubled down on previous pledges that, if elected, he would do “a hell of a lot worse” than waterboarding and said he had “no problem” with the targeting of terror suspects’ families. He had previously argued the United States needed to “take out” the families of terrorists.

Trump’s tough talk has resonated with supporters and tapped into frustrations over the pace and rules of engagement of the US-led campaign against the Islamic State group and other jihadists. But his rhetoric drew broad condemnation from elsewhere, with observers saying the Pentagon would likely refuse to carry out any such illegal orders.

Concluding Comments
By Karl Pomeroy

Norman Vincent Peale (

Norman Vincent Peale (–

Donald Trump, as he says in his book Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, was a fan of Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking. Wikipedia says of Peale:  “Raised as a Methodist and ordained as a Methodist minister in 1922, Peale changed his religious affiliation to the Reformed Church in America in 1932 and began a 52-year tenure as pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. During that time the church’s membership grew from 600 to over 5,000, and he became one of New York City’s most famous preachers.”

Trump attended many of Peale’s lectures and was greatly inspired by his principles.

Peale’s philosophy of life-in-action is closely related to a  teaching known as “Science of Mind”, developed in the first half of the twentieth century by religious leaders such as Ernest Holmes and Emmet Fox, who were influenced by the nineteenth century essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The philosophy is sometimes also called “Religious Science”, “Metaphysics” or “New Thought”.

According to this teaching, we are encouraged to praise ourselves as a technique in achieving confidence and success, but always with consideration for and fairness to others. Self-praise is not egotism, in the context of this practice, but a healthy expression of personal well-being. Trump has made this philosophy work in his own life.

The business magnate’s self-praise, seen in this light, is a positive aspect of his character, easily misunderstood however by those unfamiliar with New Thought principles. Thus, Mitt Romney’s criticism of Trump this past week implied fear of the billionaire’s ego—a fear unfortunately exacerbated by Trump’s stance on torture. This painted a false picture in Romney’s mind of Trump as a danger to the country. It is easy to see how such a misunderstanding might occur.

Now that Trump has reversed his position, I hope Mitt Romney will turn around and support him.



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