Hillary Clinton, the former US secretary of state and the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, said that Donald Trump’s supporters may require “deprogramming” as if they were members of a cult. She blamed Trump for having “no credibility left by any measure” and for inciting the violent attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2023.
“He’s only in it for himself. He’s now defending himself in civil actions and criminal actions. And when do they break with him? Because at some point maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members. But something needs to happen,” she told CNN.
Trump, who lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden but refused to concede, is facing 91 criminal charges (17 related to election subversion) and several civil lawsuits. He is also the clear favorite to win the Republican nomination for the 2024 election.
Hillary said that Trump is “an authoritarian populist who really has a grip on the emotional [and] psychological needs and desires of a portion of the population and the base of the Republican party, for whatever combination of reasons.”
She added that Trump’s followers “see in him someone who speaks for them and they are determined they will continue to vote for him, attend his rallies and wear his merchandise, because for whatever reason he and his very negative, nasty form of politics resonates with them.”
The 75-year-old cited some possible reasons for their attraction to Trump, such as “Maybe they don’t like migrants. Maybe they don’t like gay people or Black people or the woman who got the promotion at work they didn’t get.”
She also said that Trump’s slogan of “Make America great again” was “a bid for nostalgia, to return to a place where people could be in charge of their lives, feel empowered, say what they want and insult whoever came in their way.”
The former U.S. Secretary of States compared Trump’s movement to “a cult and somebody has to break it, break that momentum. And that’s why I believe Joe Biden will defeat them and hopefully then that will be the end and the fever will break.”
Clinton made these remarks after Kevin McCarthy became the first US House speaker ever to be ousted by his own party due to his opposition to Trump’s election lies.
Clinton urged Democrats to “be smarter about how we are trying to empower the right people inside the Republican party” and to “defeat those who are the election deniers, as we did in 2020 and [in the midterms of] 2022.”