Donald Trump tonight suggested fighting terrorism by executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs blood.
Two days after saying he checks facts before making a statement, he referenced a false story about a US general committing what would now be considered a war crime.
The President’s tweet came in the aftermath of the Barcelona Terror attack which killed at least 12 people and left dozens injured.
After condemning the attack and offering US assistance to Spain, the President’s thoughts turned to preventative measures.
He wrote: “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”
While many scratched their heads over the oblique reference to US military history, Trump has told his story of General Pershing before.
And it’s definitely fake.
Here’s what he meant with this tweet
Speaking at a February 2016 campaign rally in South Carolina, he told a story about Pershing executing Muslim prisoners in the Philippine-American war, in which he served between 1909 and 1913.
As Governor of Moro province in the Philippines, Pershing had to contend with local Muslims who resisted the American occupying force.
“They were having terrorism problems, just like we do,” Trump said. “And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs’ blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood.
“And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said: You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened. And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem. Okay? Twenty-five years, there wasn’t a problem.”
He also told the crowd they could read about the story in the history books, “but not a lot of the history books, because they don’t like to teach it.”
It didn’t happen.
Where did the story come from?
Historians have noted newspaper articles from decades after the supposed event, which told a story of Pershing sprinkling pig blood on bullets to threaten prisoners with “eternal damnation”, but even these accounts say there was no actual massacre, and prisoners were released.
Other articles attributed the tale to other people, not Pershing.
In fact, according to historian William Lambers : “Pershing was more inclined toward peace talks with the Moros rather than violence. The General met with the Moros and read from the Koran with them. Pershing wanted to build bridges.“
Fact-checking website Politifact asked eight historians about the story, and reported: “Most expressed skepticism that the specific story ever happened, and many added that Trump’s takeaway is wrong-headed.”
The story has, however, been circulated widely online in the years since 9/11.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump excused himself from having taken two days to condemn the white supremacists who led a violent and deadly march in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend by claiming he had been waiting for the true facts of the incident to become clear.
DONALD TRUMP MAKES SHOCKING COMMENT ABOUT THE CHARLOTTESVILLE PROTESTS
He said: “Unlike the media, before I make a statement I like to know the facts.”
Tonight, with neither irony nor apparent self-awareness, the President of the United States proved that statement, in itself, to be a lie.