An authority on religious cults told CNN Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s influence has been so great that “all of America needs to be deprogrammed” from his personality and polices.
“This is a radical personality change in the mental health literature,” Steven Hassan told CNN’s “New Day” when asked how Trump supporters leading average lives could have participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“It’s called the dissociative disorder, questioning of identity. And the bottom line is, all of America needs deprogramming because we’ve all been negatively influenced by Donald Trump,” said Hassan, a mental health counselor and author of “Cult of Trump.” (RELATED: CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ Guest Warns Viewers That Trump Supporters Are Part Of A ‘Destructive Cult’)
“So, in studying all the thought-reform, brainwashing models, I developed a BITE model of authoritarian control, and it basically talks about controlling behavior, information, thoughts and emotions to create a new identity that’s dependent and obedient,” Hassan continued, referring to a paper he wrote on how cults control behavior, information, thoughts and emotions.
Washington Post columnist and MSNBC analyst Eugene Robinson also suggested that Trump supporters should be “deprogrammed” and described them as “members of a cult” earlier this month.
Former news anchor Katie Couric said Friday that House Republicans who voted against impeaching Trump need to be “deprogrammed.”
The host asked Hassan how Trump supporters could “radically change” their personalities to storm the Capitol building. “What tool was it that President Trump used to get them to do that?”
Hassan claimed that he was under a similar form of mind control in the early 1970s and was programmed to “believe that democracy was Satanic” as a member of the Unification Church, or “Moonies.” He claimed to have been “fasting for Richard Nixon” during the Watergate crisis and would have stayed in the cult if his “family hadn’t cared enough” to “rescue” him. (RELATED: REPORT: McConnell Believes Trump Committed Impeachable Offenses)
On Jan. 6, a Trump rally turned into a riot as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building after the president told the crowd, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. We will never give up, we will never concede.”
The rioters forced members of Congress to seek safety while five people were killed.