Trump revives discredited tale about pigs' blood

Trump speaks to reporters at his golf estate in Bedminster New Jersey

After he struggled to condemn a white supremacist terrorist attack in the United States, reluctantly condemned it, and then pivoted back to the idea that not every participant in a neo-Nazi rally that ended with a woman's murder was necessarily bad, a deadly terrorist attack in Barcelona offered President Trump the more comfortable terrain of talking about Islamic terrorism.

Trump was referring to the long-debunked myth that Army Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, who was the governor of the Philippines after the Spanish-American war, quelled Muslim insurgents there by shooting them with bullets that had been dipped in pig's blood.

Hours after an apparent terrorist attack in Barcelona, President Trump recycled a largely discredited internet tale that he promoted on the campaign trail as a way to call attention to what he has called "radical Islamic terrorism". According to the stories, Pershing put down a militant Muslim group in the Philippines by executing its members with bullets dipped in pig's blood.

Two reputable sites of fact checking, Snopes and Politifact, affirm that the anecdote of the American president is an urban legend.

Many critical commentators believe Trump's tweet revived the specific story about Pershing and the bullets dipped in pigs' blood that he told during the campaign. "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", he said.

Donald Trump has not made time, this Thursday, to denounce on Twitter the attack in the van claimed by Daech, yesterday in Barcelona.

Local police are treating the incident as a terrorist attack. Adding, "I don't want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement".

Trump's tweet came hours after a auto crashed into a crowd in Barcelona, Spain.

"Donald Trump's inflammatory rhetoric has crossed the line from spreading hatred to inciting violence", Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said at the time.

"Well, I think the driver of the auto is a disgrace to himself, his family and this country, and that is - you can call it terrorism, you can call it murder, you can call it whatever you want".

The blood of pigs would block Muslims from reaching paradise in the afterlife.

"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 Gen. Pershing was a rough guy and he sits on his horse and he's very astute, like a ramrod. Be tough & strong, we love you!" the president said. "Okay? Twenty-five years, there wasn't a problem". He then proceeded to bury their bodies wrapped in pigskin and entrails.

"Even if the tale is true, the pacifying effect that Trump claims is nonsense", a third historian told Politifact.

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