Speed Reads


Donald Trump's story about killing terrorists with bullets covered in pigs' blood is probably a myth

It's no secret that Donald Trump, despite growing evidence to the contrary, believes torture is an effective tool. At a South Carolina rally Friday evening, the Republican presidential hopeful told an old story about U.S. Gen. John J. Pershing in the Philippine-American War:

They were having terrorism problems, just like we do. And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs' blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs' blood. And he had his men load his 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. Okay? Twenty-five years, there wasn't a problem. [The Washington Post]

Variations of that story, which hinge on an implication that the terrorists are Muslims who believe pigs are impure, have been circulating for ages. Snopes has found little evidence to support Pershing's involvement in such an act, suggesting it never occurred, was simply a threat, or another person was responsible for the attack.