Trump Again Repeats Debunked Claim About Torturing Muslims With Pig Blood In Response To Barcelona Attack

In his tweeted response to today’s terror attack in Barcelona, Trump alluded to a debunked story he repeated on the 2016 campaign trail. Here’s what he said last February about the supposed actions of US Gen. John Pershing during the Philippine-American war of 1899-1902:

“They were having terrorism problems, just like we do. 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.”

From Politifact:

“This story is a fabrication and has long been discredited,” said Brian McAllister Linn, a Texas A&M University historian and author of Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940. “I am amazed it is still making the rounds.”

Christopher Einolf, a professor at DePaul University and author of America in the Philippines, 1899-1902: The First Torture Scandal, added that he trusted the conclusion of the late military historian Frank E. Vandiver, who told About.com in 2003 that “I never found any indication that it was true in extensive research on his Moro experiences. This kind of thing would have run completely against his character.”

Indeed, other historians noted that Pershing pursued a less brutal approach to “pacifying” the rebels in the southern Philippines than Leonard Wood, one of his predecessors.