On Thursday, Islamic-State-associated terrorists drove a van into a crowd in Barcelona in what has become an increasingly frequent and terrifying occurrence in Europe (and now, America): murder by vehicle, terrorism with deadly and macabre simplicity. More than a dozen people died in the attack, and more than a hundred are injured. This was also a coordinated attack which also involved some kind of explosion in another area of Barcelona. We knew pretty quickly that this was an Islamic State attack because it was the same thing the Islamic State did in France, and because the Islamic State took credit for the Barcelona attack within a few hours. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Barcelona and all Spanish people.
All of us here in America knew exactly what would happen when Donald Trump learned of the attack. This is a man who waited two days after the neo-Nazis brought their tiki torches to Charlottesville before he came out and squealed that “many sides” were to blame. This is the man who explained his tortured back-and-forth condemnation-and-embrace of white supremacists over the course of five days thusly:
“I didn’t wait long. I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement but you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. It is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement. So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts….When I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts. This event just happened. A lot of the event didn’t happen yet as we were speaking. This event just happened. Before I make a statement, I need the facts. I don’t want to rush into a statement. So making the statement when I made it was excellent.
That’s how he feels about terrorism committed by white supremacists and neo-Nazis. He wants to take his time, get all the facts in, really commit to making an excellent and correct statement that the alt-left “came charging” at the poor white supremacists. Trump lives in a world where brown people, black people and Muslims have inherent guilt, inherent criminality. That’s what it amounts to. But I digress – this is about Barcelona and how we knew that as soon as there was a terrorist attack committed by Islamic State terrorists, Donald Trump would wait, and cautiously take his time before issuing any statements, right? Of course! This is what he tweeted just a few hours after the initial Barcelona attack:
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
What Trump wants us to “study” is a story that has been widely debunked by historians, a story that involved Gen. Pershing – who served as governor of the Philippines from 1903 to 1913 – catching “50 terrorists,” and punishing those fifty men by dipping bullets in pig’s blood and then shooting 49 out of 50 of those men. Someone told Trump that story a while ago, and he repeated it on the campaign trail in February 2016. Historians are extremely skeptical that the incident ever happened, and even if it did happen… it did not end the violence, for the love of God. And if it did happen today, IT WOULD BE A WAR CRIME. That’s what Trump is using Twitter to advocate – he’s saying that we should be fighting the Islamic State with pigs’-blood-dipped bullets to stop this carnage. Don’t you guys just adore how he took his time to get all of the facts in before he suggested fighting the Islamic State with war crimes?
Pershing didn't dip bullets in pig's blood, Muslims in NJ didnt celebrate 9-11 & Trump didn't condemn Charlottesville terrorism for 2 days.
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) August 17, 2017
I wonder what Gen. McMaster, Gen. Kelly and Gen. Mattis think about the president's false accusation of a war crime by 6-star Gen. Pershing
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) August 17, 2017
Photos courtesy of Getty.