CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter told viewers Sunday that people calling President Donald Trump a cult leader are “popping up more and more.”
Stelter began by noting that Trump critics like former CBS anchor Dan Rather and former Trump communications director Anthony Scaramucci have sounded the alarm bells about the president’s supposed psychotic issues, but then brought in mental health counselor Steven Hassan, the author of “Cult of Trump,” who said that Trump supporters were part of a “destructive cult.”
Hassan says he escaped the Unification Church, a religious cult also known as “The Moonies,” almost 50 years ago and now considers people who support Trump to be in the same sort of cult. (RELATED: CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ Continues Network’s Radio Silence On ABC Ignoring Epstein Scandal)
“So I define a destructive cult as an authoritarian pyramid-structured group with someone at the top who claims to have total power and total wisdom that uses the deception and control to make people loyal and dependent and obedient followers ….” Hassan said, noting that there can be both “healthy” and “destructive” cults.
The author considers Trump to be the leader of a destructive cult “where people are being fed propaganda and they’re not being encouraged to think for themselves. They’re not being encouraged to really explore and look at the details and arrive at their own conclusions.” Hassan singled out “emotionally driven, loaded words, thought-stopping and thought-terminating type cliches like fake news or build the wall or Make America Great Again.”(CNN’s Oliver Darcy Tried Calling Out The Daily Caller — It Didn’t Go So Well)
Stelter asked, “You say the president is using mind control, but how is that provable?”
“So we can start with the pathological lying, which is characteristic of destructive cult leaders. Saying things in a very confident way that have nothing to do with facts or truthfulness. The blaming others and never taking responsibility for his own failures and faults. Shunning and kicking out anyone who raises questions or concerns about his own behavior.” Hassan said.
Stelter agreed that Hassan’s prognosis was sobering. ”It is frightening to hear a cult expert say that you see all of these signs right now today in American politics.”
But Hassan suggested there was hope for America and that could come this coming Thanksgiving weekend.
“But wake up … The first step with anyone who’s a true believer is contact with people that are outside the bubble. Cult leaders want to isolate their people. They want family and friends to just disappear rather than keep engaged. Hey, did you read this article? What do you think of it. You know, I’ll watch one of your shows, watch one of my shows. In other words, appealing to the person’s true self, their authentic self, that wants to be a good person, that wants — that believes in America and democracy and truth.”
Stelter asked, “For the people who are dreading Thanksgiving, you’re saying it’s an opportunity to get together?”
“Exactly. Let’s — we’re family. We’re friends, let’s talk. And you know, truth will out.”