At least 49 Muslims in New Zealand were killed Friday during worship. For some, this brought back memories of a 2016 Trump campaign rally in South Carolina.
Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale reminded his followers that, while he was running for president, Donald Trump once enthusiastically told a crowd in North Charleston, South Carolina about when General John Pershing supposedly ordered his soldiers to shoot 49 Muslim prisoners in the Philippines after dipping their bullets in pig’s blood (Muslims view pigs as unclean animals).
“And he lined up the 50 people and they shot 49 of those 50 people, and he said to the 50th, you go back to your people and you tell them what happened — and in 25 years there wasn’t a problem,” Trump said.
During the South Carolina primary in 2016, Trump enthusiastically told a (fictional) story about the mass murder of 49 Muslims. pic.twitter.com/9xssH0MZVI
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) March 15, 2019
And in 2017, as president, Trump again cited Pershing’s supposed killing of 49 Muslims following a deadly Islamic terror attack in Barcelona, Spain.
“Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!” Trump tweeted.
However, Snopes debunked that story as a hoax, citing historical reports showing that Pershing in fact discouraged his soldiers from taking any actions that could enflame religious tensions.
While President Trump offered his “best wishes” to the families of the New Zealand victims, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the U.S. “stands in solidarity with the people of New Zealand,” questions remain about the culpability of President Trump in radicalizing one of the people behind the terrorist attack on Muslims in the Al Noor mosque on their day of prayer.
In a manifesto released online, one of the shooters — an avowed fascist who called for a white ethnostate — said that while he didn’t view Trump as an effective political leader, he did see him as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
As a candidate, Trump ran on a policy of forbidding Muslims from immigrating to the U.S. “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” And as president, Trump instituted a policy of not allowing anyone from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S., which prompted mass protests at airports across the country (the U.S. Supreme Court later upheld that decision as constitutional).
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Grit Post’s editorial policy is to not publish the names or likenesses of mass shooters, in order to deny them the notoriety they’re seeking from the media. We encourage other outlets to do the same.)
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.