Trump and his surrogates are already challenging the accounts offered by the former White House aide who, fittingly, first met him when he was a reality TV show host and she was a contestant. However, they won’t be able to refute her conclusion about the relationship between Trump and his most avid allies, because it’s a judgment based on the sum of her experiences and not one lone anecdote.
Turn to the video of Omarosa speaking to PBS’s Frontline in 2016 and you hear a woman who sounds like Ma Anand Sheela, the spokesperson for the 1980s cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Sheela was a highly visible Rajneeshi, speaking often on his behalf, until she fled to Europe after law enforcement broke up the cult. Similarly, Omarosa was a very public figure in the Trump campaign and White House and, prior to politics, boosted him over many years as a veteran of Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice.”
Omarosa spoke as if Trump’s very being justified his will to power, in a contest where his victory would apply across the vast and unknowable universe. Only after she was cast out of the White House, and from Trump’s orbit, did Omarosa began to air her criticisms and frame her expulsion as an “escape.”
Trump isn’t necessarily deliberate in using cult leader methods, but he does seem to tick many of the boxes. He draws others in by emphasizing that they have been treated unfairly and need to be protected from a world full of dangers. And those dangers range from immigrants to Muslims to terrorists to our very own government agencies. He promises that he will reward their loyalty. Then he demonstrates that he will punish dissenters in a cruel and ruthless way.
The big campaign rallies that Trump has continued to conduct offer grand displays of the cult leader at work. When he ridicules protesting NFL players as “sons of bitches” or mocks the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, or Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, he’s serving up enemies the crowd can regard with contempt. By stirring this hatred, he revs up believers and rewards their commitment. He also reminds everyone that enemies — and presumably this would include defectors — can be treated roughly.
Of course, there is no cult without top apostles who use their skills to help keep the system humming. Before he became Trump’s legal apologist, Rudy Giuliani was a respected former mayor of New York. Now he is a human pretzel, contorting himself to protect the President from a special counsel who has shown that some of the individuals who worked on the Trump campaign have questionable ethics at best — and have committed criminal acts at worst.
Other apostates, including former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, alleged former sex partners Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, and campaign operatives such as Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos threaten to do even more damage. This is generally how cults are brought down — from the inside.
If the pattern holds, the revelations will be ever more shocking, and the response will be ever more intense, until the truth overwhelms the leader’s spell. The time can’t come too soon for a nation in Trump’s thrall.
Source : Nbcnewyork