Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

UNL prof says Trump's story about Pershing isn't supported by facts

UNL prof says Trump's story about Pershing isn't supported by facts

Hours after the deadly terrorist attack in Spain, President Donald Trump revived a widely discredited story about an Army general who supposedly halted Muslim attacks in the Philippines in the early 1900s by shooting the rebels with bullets dipped in pigs' blood. Fact-checking organizations such as Politifact rated Trump's claim as false.

This is an allusion to a story of very dubious provenance that he once told on the 2016 presidential campaign trail.

On Thursday, a van steered by purported "soldiers" of the Islamic State plowed into a crowded pedestrian street in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district, killing 13 people and injuring at least 100 more.

The tweet comes a day after a van was driven into a crowded tourist area in Barcelona's city center, mowing down dozens of people. An alleged Nazi sympathiser who had attended the rally is charged with second-degree murder in the case.

The President previously referred to Pershing at a February 2016 campaign rally.

As Vox has pointed out, Trump has been generally slow to respond to violent incidents where Muslims are the victims. The president on Tuesday explained that his initial reaction had been muted because he did not have all the "facts" in the case and wanted to be cautious.

He then posted a more cryptic tweet saying: "Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught". And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs' blood - you heard that, right?

The pig's blood story, even though proven fake, found plenty of takers because the animal is considered unclean for Muslims all over the world.

"And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the fifty 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. Twenty-five years, there wasn't a problem", the Washington Post quoted him as saying.

US President Donald Trump condemned Thursday's terrorist attack in Barcelona and said that the US stood ready to assist Spain, the media reported. Pigs are deemed impure by the Koran. The worrying factor is that it doesn't appear to be a "lone wolf", hit-and-run attack - there were two other incidents, north and south of Barcelona, prompting the police to think a wider cell must have been at work.

There are several versions of the tale circulating, including one in which the prisoners were buried with dead pigs.

"Whoever is responsible should know the United States of America, along with our allies, will find and punish those responsible and drive the evil of radical Islamic terror from the face of the Earth", Pence said.

"The perpetrators of this heinous attack must be brought to justice, and we will not rest until the purveyors of hate and terror around the world are defeated", said the House Democratic Whip Steny H Hoyer.

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