Donald Trump Trots Out Tale of Muslims, Pig Blood, and Bullets

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/cornstalker/23975407111/in/photolist-oskUH-CunnCo-CwCef8-BGpP5E-C6qaRX-BGwTMF-CBBALm-C6qcD4-BGpGEq-CDVuwt-CwCd3P-BGpJm1-CwCjmv-Cunda5-CBBxn7-CDViy6-BGpAmd-CwCifH-5KnqeT-HkLZL-D4fR4D-DaCH5y-xRyc1-xcB4KT-BmMeY2-2graPM-DvMQa7-BD3rgM-xGitau-9VT6fh-CtkRVA-zyLLPy-yUubdV-yUubNT-DrTAmo-yqiXpj-D9HSL5-DjhR3P-DjhQUn-D9HSB7-xVQhrF-D9HSym-DjhR7B-D9HSQy-CKN5Pk-CSb6F1-CKN5Qn-CmMfWQ-CmUnpV-Dc1yoM">Matt Johnson</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Donald Trump ended his final campaign rally of the South Carolina primary Friday night with a story about a four-star general, Muslim insurgents, and bullets dunked in pig blood. Forty minutes into his address at a not-quite-full convention center in North Charleston, after mocking Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s lack of enthusiasm for waterboarding, the Republican presidential front-runner told the crowd that he wanted to share an anecdote he’d heard about General John Pershing.

“General Pershing was a rough guy,” Trump said. He explained that during the early 1900s, when the general was battling Muslim insurgents in the US-controlled Philippines, he decided to make a point:

He caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage…and he took the 50 terrorists and he took 50 men and dipped 50 bullets in pig’s blood. You heard about that? He took 50 bullets and dipped them in pig’s blood [which is considered haram]. And he has his men load up their 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.

“We’ve got to start getting tough and we’ve got to start being vigilant and we’ve got to start using our heads or we’re not gonna have a country, folks,” Trump concluded.

Snopes, the online mythbuster, classifies the Pershing tale—which is popular on the right—as a “legend.” “We haven’t eliminated the possibility…but so far all we’ve turned up are several different accounts with nothing that documents Pershing’s involvement,” it explains.

But a lack of evidence has never stopped Trump, especially when it comes to the anti-Islam invective that has helped keep him atop the polls in South Carolina. His proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States is hugely popular among Republicans; a recent survey of his supporters found that just 44 percent believed Islam should even be legal. So with his candidacy on the line, he’s sticking with what got him to this point.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate