Senator John McCain has issued a stiff warning to President-elect Donald Trump on the subject of torture, insisting the United States would not reinstate waterboarding.

“I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do. We will not waterboard,” McCain said at the annual Halifax International Security Forum on Saturday. “We will not torture people … It doesn’t work.”

McCain, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, warned that any attempt to bring back torture, including waterboarding, would be challenged in court.

“If they started waterboarding, I swear to you that we’d have them in court in a New York minute,” he said.

The Arizona senator, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, acknowledged that waterboarding tarnishes the US image in the world.

“What does it say about America if we’re going to inflict torture on people?” he asked.

McCain added that torture remains illegal under the Geneva Conventions and was also banned by the US Congress last year.

During his bombastic campaign, Trump repeatedly said he would use much harsher torture techniques against suspected terrorists than waterboarding.

“We have to fight fire with fire,” he said at a campaign rally in June. “What do you think about waterboarding?” Trump asked his supporters. “I like it a lot. I don’t think it’s tough enough.”

At a Republican primary debate in February, the billionaire businessman vowed to “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”

Waterboarding had been used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on terror suspects captured after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The harsh practice, which simulates drowning, was banned in 2006.

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