American cult leaders like Jim Jones and Trump have too much in common to ignore.
While Americans have been emersed in the Trump drama for four years, many do not remember the death cult created by Jim Jones, a sick false prophet responsible for the deaths of 900 of his followers, including women and children, in the jungle of Guyana. Here is his short bio:
“Jim Jones, byname of James Warren Jones, (born May 13, 1931, Crete, near Lynn, Indiana, U.S.—died Nov. 18, 1978, Jonestown, Guyana), American cult leader who promised his followers a utopia in the jungles of South America after proclaiming himself the messiah of the Peoples Temple, a San Francisco-based evangelist group. He ultimately led his followers into a mass suicide in Guyana, which left more than 900 dead and came to be known as the Jonestown Massacre (Nov. 18, 1978).”—Source: Encyclopedia Britannica
Many Americans may have forgotten or never knew about the perverted, curious story about Jim Jones. However, this sad story is relevant today because Jones has many of the same leadership and abnormal personality characteristics of Trump’s extreme Republicanism, including the fact that the actions of both men caused the deaths of many innocent people.
Not surprisingly, the similarities between these two cult figures–Trump and Jones–have been noted by some of Jones’ followers. Here are some of these eerie similarities that are now playing out before our eyes.
Trump’s Rhetoric Resembles Jones’
Yulunda Williams, a former member of the Jones church, told The Independent that “I sometimes listen to (Trump) our commander-in-chief – he sounds so much [like him], and the rhetoric is so similar to that of Jim Jones,” Ms. Williams said. “But it is eerie for me, and I think that over 240,000 people have lost their lives due to Covid,” she added.
Williams also said Jones conducted a continuous brainwashing campaign. “There was consistent brainwashing going on because all day long and all night long when you try to sleep, all you would hear was him on the P.A. system yelling and screaming,” Ms. Williams said.”
Trump used FOX, Limbaugh, Hannity, and other right-wing media outlets for the same purpose: to create a Trump cult based on propaganda. This helps explain why 70% of Republicans think the 2020 election was rigged, or why COVID vaccines are not safe.
Republicans Ignore Trump’s Role in Accelerating the COVID Death Toll
As part of their “big lie” propaganda program, Republicans rightfully ignore Trump’s intentional mismanagement of the COVID crisis. This includes his chaotic mismanagement of resources, his failure to take action at the federal level to lock down all flights from Asia and Europe quickly, his failure to impose mask restrictions and social distancing, and his directive for states to manage the vaccination programs themselves with little or no federal coordination. All of this set the stage for the rapid spread of the contagion and some resulting deaths.
Ultimately, Trump’s intentional inaction, numerous lies, and continuous downplaying about the critical impact of the virus led to thousands of preventable deaths, according to Dr. Deborah Birx. In a Jan. 22, 2020 interview, Trump told a CNBC reporter that the country had it (the COVID virus) “completely under control” and suggested that he was not concerned about a pandemic.
In an interview on NBC, Dr. Birx said, “the Trump administration could have prevented hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 deaths had it acted more forcefully to mitigate the pandemic.”
“I look at it this way: The first time, we have an excuse. There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge,” Birx said. “All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.”
Jones and Trump Were Both Fake Populists
Early in his campaign, Trump copied many of the platform points from Bernie Sanders. Trump recognized that disenfranchised white, high school-educated males were his primary audience. Many of these people were underemployed and felt they were victimized by immigrants, women, and minorities taking their jobs and impeding their economic advancement.
Trump promised everything to everyone. But he was a notorious liar. The Washington Post reported that Trump made 30,573 false or misleading claims during his four years in office.
Jones, like Trump, appealed to minorities with a populist message.
In this description from Teri Buford O’Shea, a Jonestown resident who left the town a few weeks before the mass suicide, Jones “was very charismatic and attracted people who were feeling vulnerable or disenfranchised for whatever reason. Most of them were African-American, but there were also white people, Jewish people, people of Mexican descent. There were religious Christians and communists. If you want religion, Jim Jones could give it to you. If you want socialism, he could give it to you. If you were looking for a father figure, he’d be your father. He always homed in on what you needed and managed to bring you in emotionally.”
Jones and Trump Share the Same Pathology
- Trump and Jim Jones both led people to their deaths due to their perverted ideologies that placed each man as the center of their own fabricated New World Order.
- Jones was a cult religious figure, and some in the Trump cult have a similar view.
- Both men shared charismatic, narcissistic, and unrepentant traits.
- Both used sex as a way to gain control over some of their followers or associates.
- The QAnon cult had close connections with Trump and his family. Some QAnon followers still believe Trump is still president.
- Both were ruthless and vindictive against critics. Jones gunned down his critics (reporters and a U.S. House of Representatives member) and then opted for a mass suicide rather than admit that his vision of a Jonestown utopia in the Guyanan jungle was a failed vision.
- Trump cannot admit defeat or take criticism, especially from the Mueller investigation. Trump pushed his followers to disrupt the government and storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, at the same time the U.S Senate was voting to affirm the 2020 election results that proved Trump lost.
Trump and Jones Diverted Followers’ Funds for Personal Use
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “Jones, who adopted the name ‘the Prophet,’ apparently became obsessed with the exercise of power. Before long, he began to face various allegations, most notably that he was illegally diverting the income of cult members to his use.”
Trump and his family were accused of violating the emoluments clause almost immediately after he took office. Trump “is defying warnings from Republican and Democratic ethics experts and refusing to do what every previous president has done for decades — divest himself of his ownership interests, liquidate his business assets, and place them in a truly blind trust operated by an independent entity,” according to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Trump maintained ownership of his businesses after taking office. He continued to receive money as a sitting president. Forbes estimates Trump made $1.9 billion in revenue from 2017 to 2019 as president.
Republicans Who Adopt the Big Lie Should Face the Consequences
People in the Trump cult share many of the same traits as Jim Jones. American cultism is not new, and each cult has eventually dissolved as members realized that the cult leader’s false promises were not advancing their personal, emotional, social, or financial lives.
Hatred as an ideology requires a lot of energy. The constant rantings from FOX, Facebook, QAnon, and other radio and web propaganda outlets prevent its followers from mixing with the larger population.
Republicans Are Continuing the Insurrection
Trump’s Republican party has not proposed positive programs. Their constant position is to attack, denigrate, detract, and disrupt.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on May 5, 2021, that his focus was on “stopping” President Biden’s administration, citing the unity in his caucus. “One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration,” McConnell said during a press conference in Kentucky,” according to Yahoo News.
Trump and Jones’ Remain Business Failures
Time will also show that the financial, business genius, and prophet Trump never had any magical control over the stock market. Trump’s extraordinary claims about the strong economy that only he could energize have proven false.
A report in Seeking Alpha found that “President Trump’s annualized Dow return of 11.8% was the best for any Republican president since President Calvin Coolidge in the Roaring Twenties,” LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick wrote in a note. “This was still below the annualized returns of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.”
Is Trump the Reincarnation of Jones?
The similarities between Jones and Trump are too numerous to be coincidental. So, for many Trump followers, maybe they should consider that Trump is just a wealthier version of Jim Jones. Jones’s last days were in the Guyanan jungle, Trump’s wee in the south Florida tropics.
Both men were surrounded by fanatic followers who believed in lies and believed in some form of dreamy afterlife. “Make America Great Again” is not a goal of Republicans, especially when they don’t propose positive, new programs that benefit most Americans.
Lastly, Trump is engaged in continuous fundraising, while Jones defended his cult until he realized that a justice system would eventually bring his cult to an end.
Does that sound familiar?