Posted Aug 06, 2021 by Michael L. Brown

There’s no question that President Trump knew how to push people’s buttons. And there’s no question that many of his followers were doggedly loyal to the point of not believing anyone other than Trump. In that sense, they could be accused of being part of the “cult of Trump.” At the same time, the incessant, over the top, attacks of the leftwing media actually exacerbated the situation, helping to create the very “cult” that the left so derided. A recent interview on CNN brought this to mind afresh.

In my book 2020 book Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test?, I devoted a chapter to the topic, “The Cult of Trump or Trump Derangement Syndrome.” In that chapter, I examined the argument that Trump was, in fact, a cult leader, using proven techniques to manipulate and control his followers. (Remember his famous comment that he could shoot someone in broad daylight on Fifth Ave. and not lose any voters?)

I also looked at the phenomenon known as “Trump Derangement Syndrome” in which the media seemed to lose its mind when attacking Trump. All sense of balance and proportion was lost. Trump was Hitler. Trump was a raging lunatic. Trump was about to destroy the whole world.

I concluded that “Trump knows how to push our buttons, for better or for worse. He knows how to make himself the focus of the news cycle. He knows how to rally a crowd. He knows how to sell his own product. He knows how to produce outrage. He knows how to foster loyalty.

“As a result, some people, including evangelicals, show him cult-like loyalty to the point of becoming irrational in their support. Others, including evangelicals, treat him with such disdain to the point of becoming irrational in their opposition. Thus, Trump, simply by being himself, contributes to both the ‘Cult of Trump’ and ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome.’ At the same time, many others simply make pragmatic choices for or against Trump, without being part of a cult and without being deranged. It’s really that simple.”

Yet it was this very thing, this “Trump Derangement Syndrome” that helped foster the “Cult of Trump,” since the more the media lied about him, the more his followers cried, “Fake news!” and the more they fought for him.

Not only so, but the more the media demonized him – I mean in exaggerated, unsupportable, irresponsible ways, not simply critiquing his very real failings – the more his followers felt demonized. After all, if he was Hitler, then they were the Nazis.

Just think back to candidate Hillary Clinton’s ill-advised description of Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables.” Overnight, “deplorable” became a badge of honor. Overnight, being insulted on behalf of Trump became a mark of distinction.

Even to this day, to say that something is “deplorable” does not have the sting it once did. Perhaps it should be taken as a compliment rather than an insult?

Recently, however, CNN took things to a new low, likening Trump to Jim Jones and his followers to the 900+ devotees who were deluded into (or forced into?) committing suicide by poison.

Speaking with Rep. Jackie Speier, who herself survived the Jonestown massacre, CNN’s Brian Stelter said, “These citizens in other countries sometimes email me, and say you know why doesn’t the American media just call out Trump for what he is? Call Trump fandom for what it is? Sometimes they use the word ‘cult.’ I know that’s a sensitive word, doesn't come up a lot in American news coverage, so I wanted to put it to an expert, an unfortunate expert.”

Stelter said that he “wanted to hear her thoughts about the comparison, the notion of the cult of Trump, especially in the light of January 6 and the mass delusion that led to a riot of lies on Capitol Hill.”

Rep. Speier responded, “There’s no question that you could compare Jim Jones as a charismatic leader who would bring his congregation together. And the only difference between Jim Jones and Donald Trump is the fact that we now have social media, so all these people can find themselves in ways that they couldn’t find themselves before.”

Note those words carefully, spoken on national TV by an elected official: “the only difference between Jim Jones and Donald Trump is the fact that we now have social media.”

And note Stelter’s reference to “Trump fandom” and, in the same interview, Speier’s reference to Jim Jones who would “bring his congregation together” and “force them to do things that were illegal.”

How does this make you feel if you are a Trump voter? Does it further confirm the degree that the mainstream cannot be trusted? Does it deepen your sense of solidarity with him, since not only was he being compared to Jim Jones but you were being compared to the deluded, ultimately self-destructive followers of Jones?

What makes this interview all the more deplorable – dare I use that word? – is that Speier herself was closely connected to the Jonestown tragedy, as Stelter noted in the interview.

As explained on Wikipedia, “Speier entered politics by serving as a congressional staffer for Congressman Leo Ryan. Speier was part of his November 1978 fact-finding mission organized to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple followers, almost all of whom were American citizens who had moved to Jonestown, Guyana, with Jones in 1977 and 1978.

“Several Peoples Temple members ambushed the investigative team and others boarding the plane to leave Jonestown on November 18. Five people were killed, including Congressman Ryan. While trying to shield herself from rifle and shotgun fire behind small airplane wheels with other team members, Speier was shot five times and waited 22 hours before help arrived. That same day, over 900 remaining members of the Peoples Temple died in Jonestown and Georgetown in a mass murder-suicide.”

That’s why her words, along with Stelter’s, were all the more irresponsible, only fueling the very fires about which they express such concern.

Was Trump, in my view, ultimately responsible for the storming of the Capitol? Yes, he was, the result of months of his own irresponsible rhetoric. (That being said, I do not believe for a second he ever intended for it to happen.) Did some of his followers look to him with cultlike adoration, and do some continue to show him that same kind of dangerous loyalty? Absolutely yes.

But did tens of millions of others make informed, rational decisions to vote for him rather than Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden? Without a doubt. And have these people gone on with their lives, accepting the current realities and working hard to make America better? You better believe it.

As for Trump himself, did he vacate the White House without provoking a military conflict? Yes he did. And has he called for his followers to relocate to gather around him in Mar-a-Lago, guns in hand, ready to take back the government? No, he has not.

In contrast, is CNN still stoking the fires of resentment and hatred by likening Trump to Jim Jones and making a comparison between their followers? (Remember: the only difference between Trump and Jones is “social media.”) Absolutely yes.

This is irresponsible and dangerous. Even CNN, with its history of anti-Trump rhetoric, should do better. Will they? (For my related video commentary, see here.)

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BW posted a comment · Aug 22, 2021
Truesay43 if I’m blind & deceived! Then all of Christianity is! they the Christian leaders are calling out the depravity of the democrats political idiotic elites and the sum of their platform! Deny at your own Peril ....go judge....no one!
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BW posted a comment · Aug 15, 2021
Truesay43 Are you related to Swkh310 !
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BW posted a comment · Aug 15, 2021
Truesay43 - “says Don’t talk baby killers and blame Dems for that, blame your Supreme Court for that & your nation for justifying it. You aren’t a Christian, you can’t be, because of your tone.” my court! my nation! You don’t even live in the U.S. do you and Trump won 2016 election I didn’t say anything about Trump winning 2020 I’m not a worshiper of any man (trump) you say “I’m not saved” seriously -that’s your opinion I don’t care what a voting democrat baby killer thinks, my tone! if you vote democrat You should examine your own self .....Phar·i·see
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BW posted a comment · Aug 15, 2021
Truesay43 go blow smoke up someone’s else’s tookus You might think yourself all so·phis·ti·cat·ed smart____don’t care!
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BW posted a comment · Aug 15, 2021
•New York Times• On Abortion Rights, 2020 Democrats Move Past ‘Safe, Legal and Rare’ The Democratic presidential candidates don’t want to simply defend abortion rights. They want to go on offense. ———————————— Pete Buttigieg's abortion stance pushes pro-life Democrats ... Jan 30, 2020 —“ I support all the major Democratic causes of our day. But my party won't tolerate any dissent on abortion, and it is driving away voters like me.” I am pro-life for the whole life. Abortion not only snuffs out the life of a human being but also worsens modern-day social inequities.“ Pete Buttigieg for crying out loud! Blow it out your ___ ear Truesay43
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BW posted a comment · Aug 15, 2021
All the mobs, all the riots, looting , and you point to that one , talk about blind! Some democrats are just as lost as trump ! You only see what you want to see. Are you a coolaid drinker like all the rest who can separate church on Sunday and baby killing on Monday if you vote for a democrat you affirm their platform and are complicit-baby killing Get over yourself ! God used the most wicked people to accomplish his plans all through the the Bible plus you we’ll know God is not the author of sin, but He can use sinful men to attain an objective. Romans 8:28 says, “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Your judgement not welcomed here!
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Truesay43 posted a comment · Aug 15, 2021
BW, please don’t justify the devil’s work. You are blind & deceived! Jesus was all throughout politics & religion. He saw their hypocrisy, that’s why He called them whitewashed tombs. Don’t talk baby killers and blame Dems for that, blame your Supreme Court for that & your nation for justifying it. You aren’t a Christian, you can’t be, because of your tone. And lastly, you believe in your heart that Trump won the election? You say Trump won the votes? Did you mean election? News flash, he won votes & some states but he lost the election, he didn’t get reinstated on August 13th, 2021. It’s lies of satan! Stop believing them. You choose to believe a liar, a racist, a demagogue, an instigator of a violent Capital mob riot. Really! You can’t possibly be a follower of Jesus. Read the Bible, God’s Holy Word. It says all those will have their part in the Lake of Fire whom loved and make a lie! You are accountable and you will be judged. Come out of the darkness of trumpism and into the light of a Holy God. Your eternal salvation is at stake.
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BW posted a comment · Aug 14, 2021
Nothing Christian about politics voting for baby killers Truesay43 is not about an opinion ! you talk high and mighty. “There is no way under Heaven that you can justify supporting a man or women who outwardly says & do things that are contrary to Jesus Christ Himself like protecting baby killing “ Saying Hillary or Obama wouldn’t have been your choice is your opinion. “ They could not be my choice they are baby killers they are the ones who are contrary to Jesus Christ Himself get some credibility you are like the Pharisees ignoring the obvious pointing out the distractions the things you could elect a blathering idiot that talked and talked he did all the things that Trump accomplished aren’t you glad of the appointment of three justices that may overturn roe v wade! As a Christian or do you vote for people who are baby killers contrary to Jesus Christ himself! Pro life has my vote ! Mind blowing hah! You worship people I don’t! Trump won the vote get over yourself !
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BW posted a comment · Aug 14, 2021
Nothing Christian about politics voting for baby killers Truesay43 is not about an opinion ! you talk high and mighty. “There is no way under Heaven that you can justify supporting a man or women who outwardly says & do things that are contrary to Jesus Christ Himself like protecting baby killing “ Saying Hillary or Obama wouldn’t have been your choice is your opinion. “ They could not be my choice they are baby killers they are the ones who are contrary to Jesus Christ Himself get some credibility you are like the Pharisees ignoring the obvious pointing out the distractions the things you could elect a blathering idiot that talked and talked he did all the things that Trump accomplished aren’t you glad of the appointment of three justices that may overturn roe v wade! As a Christian or do you vote for people who are baby killers contrary to Jesus Christ himself! Pro life has my vote ! Mind blowing hah! You worship people I don’t! Trump won the vote get over yourself !
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Truesay43 posted a comment · Aug 13, 2021
It’s totally mind blowing how people who call themselves Christians(followers of Christ) have been deceived by satan. There is no way under Heaven that you can justify supporting a man(Trump) who outwardly says & does things that are contrary to Jesus Christ Himself. Saying Hillary or Obama wouldn’t have been your choice is your opinion. But anyone whom supports a man whom spews harsh rhetoric, white racist nationalism, lies & many other harmful and hateful things is beyond my understanding. He never condemned racists & racism, Qanon cultic conspiracy theories, and many other evils. CNN didn’t help create the “cult of Trump”, Trump is what he has always been. Do your research. Like Jesus says,”if ye were blind ye would have no sin: but now you say, We see, therefore your sin remaineth.” The Holy Spirit can’t and will never be deceived. Therefore if the Holy Spirit is in you, you in no way could be blind to the truth of a man who doesn’t have the biblical morality, ethics, compassion & character of Jesus Christ. Be not deceived!
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BW posted a comment · Aug 06, 2021
Obama brought about a sweeping assault on the social moorings and the unraveling last vestiges of moral red lines we shouldn’t have crossed over and opened doors that should not have been opened! 2008 to 2016 was a very dark 8 yrs Free-kin Trump was a breath of fresh air after Obama’s apology tour around the world!and the thought of Hillary ! Obama made trump look like the safer bet!
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BW posted a comment · Aug 06, 2021
You don’t have to suffer brain cramps when deciding who to vote for it really is a no brainer... if God is against you should be to. If God warns against it ...
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BW posted a comment · Aug 06, 2021
I voted for Trump solely because as a Christian -Hillary was not an option! Simple