Trump praises fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter during rally speech

Donald Trump on Saturday praised fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter “as a wonderful man” before segueing into comments disparaging people who have immigrated into the US without permission.

The former president’s remarks to political rally-goers in Wildwood, New Jersey, as he challenges Joe Biden’s re-election in November were a not-so-subtle rhetorical bridge exalting Anthony Hopkins’ cannibalistic Lecter in Silence of the Lambs as “late [and] great” while simultaneously condemning “people who are being released into our country that we don’t want”.

Trump delivered his address to an estimated crowd of about 80,000 supporters under the shadow of the Great White roller coaster in a 1950s-kitsch seaside resort 90 miles (144.8km) south of Philadelphia.

Among other comments, as he’s done before, he lied about having “been indicted more than the great Alphonse Capone,” the violent Prohibition-era Chicago mob boss.

Trump has spent the last year grappling with four indictments attributing more than 80 criminal charges to him for attempts to subvert the outcome of the 2020 election he lost to Biden, retaining classified materials after his presidency and hush-money payments to an adult film actor which prosecutors maintain were illicitly covered up.

The trial over the hush money is set to enter its fourth week Monday.

Yet Capone was indicted at least six times before his famous 1931 tax evasion conviction.

Trump nonetheless used the occasion to call the charges against him “bullshit”, with spectators then chanting the word back at him.

The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that the former president’s supporters had poured into Wildwood in “pickup trucks decked out in Trump flags” from up and down the east coast.

According to the outlet, hundreds of people set up camp overnight on the boardwalk to get into the event.

“The country is headed in the wrong direction,” Kelly Carter-Currier, a 62-year-old retired teacher from New Hampshire, told the Inquirer. “So, hopefully, people will get their shit together and vote the right person in. And if they don’t, I don’t know. World War III?”

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On the other hand, New Jersey Democrats dismissed the significance of the event.

Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill said many of the Trump supporters expected would be from out of state. “Jersey is not going to be a welcoming place for Trump,” Sherrill said.

Sherrill’s fellow New Jersey Democrat Andy Kim, a congressman running for the US Senate, said that generalized apathy toward government helped Trump’s support.

“I hope people recognize that he is not somebody that has an agenda that’s going to lead to a better type of politics,” Kim said.

The Guardian