(RNN) - President Donald Trump tweeted a response to the terror attack in Barcelona, citing a discredited parable about Army Gen. John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing.
During his campaign, Tump often told the anecdote from the aftermath of the 1899-1902 war between the Philippines and the United States. The U.S. had taken over the island nation from the Spanish, but met violent resistance in a conflict that led to the deaths of 4,000 Americans, more than 20,000 Filipino soldiers and thousands of civilians.
Pershing was the governor of the heavily Muslim Moro Province from 1909 to 1913, a period plagued by multiple uprisings, according to an exhaustive research piece in Politifact, a website that investigates claims by politicians to determine their truthfulness.
Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
Trump repeated the story on multiple occasions at campaign rallies in 2016, telling the apocryphal story of a violent response by Pershing to the acts of "50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people."
Pershing shot 49 of them with bullets dipped in pig's blood, Trump said, and told the last man to go back to his people and tell what had happened.
"And for 25 years, there wasn't a problem. OK? Twenty-five years, there wasn't a problem," the Washington Post quoted him as saying.
Historians, scholars, Snopes.com and critics have all called the story a “legend,” and a “fabrication.”
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