Barcelona van attack: Trump tweets fake terror story

IN THE wake of the deadly terror attack in Barcelona, US President Donald Trump tweeted about a debunked story on how to deal with terrorists.

Up to 16 people are dead and another 80 were injured when a white van ploughed into crowds at the busy tourist strip Las Ramblas in the heart of Barcelona, Spain, on Thursday afternoon.

Local police are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.

Mr Trump's first tweet about the attack in Spain said the US "condemns the terror attack" and "will do whatever is necessary to help".

In response, Mr Trump suggested adopting US General John "Black Jack" Pershing's methods.

"Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!," the president wrote, apparently in reference to the attack in Barcelona, Spain, earlier on Thursday.

It wasn't the first time Mr Trump touted Pershing's methods.

During a South Carolina campaign rally in February 2016, Mr Trump repeated a story about Pershing when he served as governor in the Philippines between 1909 and 1913 and put down a Muslim rebellion.

"They were having terrorism problems, just like we do," Mr Trump said. "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. OK? Twenty-five years, there wasn't a problem."

The story has been doing the rounds since 2001, but historians say there is very little evidence to support it.
Politifact rated Mr Trump's story about Pershing "pants on fire."

"Perhaps more important, the historians took issue with Trump's suggestion that the tactic - if it was even used at all - actually worked to end tensions, noting that unrest persisted for years. In all, Trump's claim is ridiculous, so we rate it Pants on Fire," it wrote in February 2016.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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