Published: Mon, August 21, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Donald Trump Tweets General Pershing Pig's Blood Myth

Donald Trump Tweets General Pershing Pig's Blood Myth

"The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help". Far worse than its absurdity or its falsity is its gleeful bloodthirstiness: The President of the United States responded to news of a terrorist attack by casually arguing for the perpetration of war crimes. In some versions of this apocryphal story, Pershing orders his men to dip bullets in pig's blood. Pershing governed over the Muslim-dominated Moro Province in the southern Philippines during US occupation after the 1898 Spanish-American war.

The story has been widely debunked by historians and fact-checkers such as Snopes.

During a campaign rally on Friday night in South Carolina, Trump told his audience a story about General John Pershing executing Muslim prisoners in the Philippines. But is he suggesting U.S. kill Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs blood.

"They were having terrorism problems, just like we do", Trump said.

On Thursday, Trump courted controversy in the wake of the Barcelona van attack when he appeared to endorse the idea of mass executions for Islamist extremists. Police later shot dead five suspects after a second vehicle attack in the coastal town of Cambrils, around 130 kilometres from Barcelona. Reuters reported that the Islamic State terrorist organization has claimed responsibility.

After condemning the attack, Trump took to Twitter to tell people to "study" the actions of a U.S. General after the Philippine-American war.

"And for 25 years there wasn't a problem".

"They had a terrorism problem and there's a whole thing with swine and pigs and you know the story they don't like them and General Pershing was a rough guy and he sits on his horse and he's very astute, like a ramrod". During the campaign, Trump repeatedly told this story. Pig's blood is considered unholy. But this isn't the first time Trump has told the tall tale of Pershing's blood-soaked bullets.

It comes now amid a national debate over the president's moral authority and stance on extremism after a white nationalist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday. In an interview with TIME, Christopher Capozzola, a history professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said "So yes, there were deliberate efforts to offend Muslim Filipinos' religious sensibilities...and yes, there was large-scale violence against their communities".

Historian after historian and expert after expert warned that not only was Trump completely off base with his versions of events (otherwise known as "fake news"), he's also off in believing that his made up version of pacifying insurgents would work.

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