In response to today’s terror attack in Barcelona that killed at least 13 people and injured dozens more, President Trump quickly reacted. He first tweeted what felt like a carefully worded condemnation on behalf of America: “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!” What came next, however, took an entirely different tone, for Trump decided to resurrect a false internet meme that he’s parroted prior to this event. He tweeted, “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”
Trump was citing an urban legend, one that he also referenced during a February 2016 rally. In doing so, he recanted a century-old counterinsurgency parable that spoke of U.S. Army General John Pershing executing Muslim prisoners with bullets that were coated in pig’s blood. As the legend goes, he did so to discourage Muslims from rebelling against the U.S., but the story was quickly called out by fact-checkers as false.
Interestingly enough, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski admitted at the time that the campaign was aware of Trump’s plan to recite the parable, which they were aware was false, but it was an “analogy” that they felt was useful. And Trump found it useful again today.
Today, CNN’s Brooke Baldwin was quick to point out that not only is Trump reciting falsehoods, but he’s also effectively “endorsing mass murder.”
Trump’s resurrection of this false internet meme, of course, does little to support his claim that he waited to “get the facts” while not responding to Charlottesville violence for several hours. Yet he began tweeting about Barcelona within the hour, and he did so with an urban legend that he’d not only cited before but that had already been proven false. Well, people are calling him out for these discrepancies … not to mention the war-crime factor.
Here’s an effective kicker of a tweet that sums the matter up.