- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 20, 2016

GOP front-runner Donald Trump pushed his tough stance on terror at a South Carolina rally on Friday with a debunked urban legend about U.S. Gen. John Pershing allegedly executing Muslim prisoners.

Mr. Trump told the crowd in Charleston they could “read it in the history books,” but according to fact-checking site Snopes.com, the military legend originated online in 2001.

The real estate mogul told the crowd that Pershing ordered the grisly execution of Muslim prisoners in the Philippines.

“He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood,” Mr. Trump said, MSNBC reported. “And he had his men load rifles and he lined up 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, OK?”

But according to Snopes, the incident is not mentioned in biographies of Pershing. In fact, accounts of his actions depict the general as wanting to minimize casualties and only threatening to use the “pig’s blood” punishment, MSNBC reported.

The story appears to be a hoax spread via chain email forwards, according to Snopes.

Mr. Trump used the story to push his willingness to go after terrorists.

“We better start getting tough, and we better start getting vigilant, and we better start using out heads, or we’re not gonna have a country, folks,” Mr. Trump said, MSNBC reported.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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