Trump Immediately Condemns Van Attack In Barcelona, Calls It Terror

PA Wire/PA Images

Just hours after a truck plowed through the historic Las Ramblas district in Barcelona, Spain Thursday, President Donald Trump condemned the incident and called it a “terror attack.” He said the U.S. would do “whatever is necessary to help.”

Not long after the attack took place, authorities labeled the incident an act of terror. But the President’s immediate condemnation of the assault as “terror” stood in contradiction to how he handled a recent car attack at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump claimed it took him 48 hours to condemn the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who incited the violence because he wanted to make to make sure he got all the facts about the incident before he put out an explicit statement.

However, Trump is known for jumping to conclusions — and is quick to call incidents terrorism — before he has the facts.

He claimed police were investigating the shooting at an Orlando night club in 2016 as an act of terrorism before it had been confirmed. He described a blast in Manhattan as “a bomb” before police had confirmed the nature of the explosion.

In June he condemned a “terrorist attack in Manila” that was later ruled the work of a lone gunman.

He tweeted again Thursday afternoon and referenced a questionable anecdote that he cited a few times during his campaign, saying people should “study what General Pershing” did to terrorists when he caught them.

“There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!” he said.

The tweet references a story about United States Army Gen. John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing that Trump told during his campaign. He claimed that during the aftermath of the Philippine-American War of 1899 to 1902, Pershing “took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood” and killed 49 Muslim rebels.

“The 50th person, he said, ‘You go back to your people and tell them what happened.’ And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem,” Trump said in February 2016.

Historians have since debunked Trump’s account of the anecdote.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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