Former President Barack Obama issued a heartfelt statement on Twitter in the wake of the Barcelona terror attack – a day after Donald Trump used a debunked story to apparently endorse the idea of mass executions for Islamist extremists in his own comments.
‘Michelle and I are thinking of the victims and their families in Barcelona. Americans will always stand with our Spanish friends,’ Obama wrote on Twitter on Thursday, adding ‘Un abrazo’, or ‘A hug’ in Spanish.
Fourteen people were killed and more than 100 others were injured after a van mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona, Spain, in what local authorities said was an act of terror. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
Obama’s statement was in contrast to a comment made by current President Donald Trump referencing a false story about beating Islamic terrorism by shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood.
Former President Barack Obama issued a statement following Thursday’s terror attack, saying he and his wife, Michelle, were ‘thinking of the victims and their families in Barcelona’.
Obama’s statement was in contrast to a comment made by current President Donald Trump referencing a false story about beating Islamic terrorism by shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood
Trump alluded to a widely debunked account of summary punishment by a US general in the Philippines in the early 1900s in a tweet shortly after the Barcelona terror attack.
‘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 tweeted.
Trump had already issued simpler tweet 45 minutes earlier, writing: ‘The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!’
But the reference to Gen. John ‘Black Jack’ Pershing inserted Trump into the day’s most riveting news story in a way his White House could come to regret.
Thursday’s tweet also suggested Trump actually believes a story of Pershing, who was the US governor of largely Muslim Moro province from 1909 to 1913, that many historians say is apocryphal.
There was criticism of the president for his use of it, with CNN anchor Jake Tapper calling it a ‘lie’, something unlikely to improve his network’s relations with the White House.
President Donald Trump, pictured Tuesday during a press conference in New York, tweeted his response to Thursday’s Barcelona terror attack by citing a military story that never happened
Trump’s tweet about Gen. Pershing refers to a story he told on the campaign trail about deterring Muslim terrorists by capturing them and executing them with bullets dipped in pig’s blood
Trump had already tweeted a more ordinary message of support, but his White House may come to regret the follow-up
At the time Pershing was in charge, the Philippines was a US colony. And Pershing’s forces had to fight Muslim counterinsurgencies.
The debunked account – which Trump has referred to in the past – is as follows: Pershing’s forces rounded up 50 Muslim insurgents and executed 49 of them with bullets dipped in pig’s blood — considered by Muslims to be unholy.
‘You heard that, right?’ Trump said as a candidate during a rally in February 2016 in South Carolina, alluding to the pig blood part.
‘They were having terrorism problems, just like we do,’ Trump said.
As the story goes, the 50th prisoner was released to tell his fellow fighters about what the Americans had done.
‘And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem. Okay? Twenty-five years, there wasn’t a problem,’ Trump said.
Historians have expressed skepticism or outright denial that this event took place.
Criticism: Factchecking group PolitiFact rated Trump at the worst end of its scale of error, CNN ancor Jake Tapper called the tweet a ‘lie’, while Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu and anti-Trump Republican Bill Kristol were united in attacking the tweet
According to the fact checking website Politifact, the late military historian Frank Vandiver said in 2003, referring to Pershing: ‘I never found any indication that it was true in extensive research on his Moro experiences. This kind of thing would have run completely against his character.’
Politifact quoted four historians who denied the account.
On Friday, the president began his morning Twitter binge on Friday by reassuring Americans that the country is safe following deadly the terror attacks in Spain.
But then he warned that jihadis are still a major threat, and castigated ‘Obstructionist Democrats’ for standing in the way of his border security goals by tying up his travel ban in federal court.
‘Homeland Security and law enforcement are on alert & closely watching for any sign of trouble. Our borders are far tougher than ever before!’ he wrote at first on Twitter.
Then, shifting gears, he added: ‘The Obstructionist Democrats make Security for our country very difficult. They use the courts and associated delay at all times. Must stop!’
The fire and brimstone came minutes later.
‘Radical Islamic Terrorism must be stopped by whatever means necessary! The courts must give us back our protective rights. Have to be tough!’ Trump tweeted.