“The only difference between Jim Jones and and Donald Trump is the fact that we now have social media,” says Rep. Jackie Speier.
CNN anchor Brian Stelter teed up a Democrat lawmaker on Sunday to draw comparisons between Donald Trump’s America First movement and the Jonestown cult.
Stelter chose Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) to appear his show “Reliable Sources” because of her unique involvement in the 1978 Jonestown massacre, where she was shot and left for dead after witnessing Jim Jones cult members murder Rep. Leo Ryan and four others on an airstrip in Guyana.
“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 in his introduction of Speier.
And Speier did not disappoint Stelter, claiming the only difference between Jim Jones and Donald Trump is that “now we have social media.”
“There’s no question that you could compare Jim Jones as a charismatic leader who would bring his congregation together, force them to do things that were illegal, and then took 900 of them into the jungles of Guyana, where over the course of time he then convinced them they should die,” Speier said. “I’ve never been able to say they committed suicide because I don’t think they were in control of their faculties, to be quite honest with you.”
“So you look at Donald Trump, charismatic leader, who was able to continue to talk in terms that appealed to those who were disaffected, disillusioned and who were looking for something, much like those who became part of Jim Jones’s congregation, the people’s temple. They were lost souls.”
“And the only difference between Jim Jones and 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,” Speier added.
So social media is the only difference between Jones and Trump?
Perhaps another critical difference is that Trump never coerced his supporters to commit mass suicide!
But don’t expect CNN to fact-check that key detail.