Trump Praises Fictional Serial Killer at New Jersey Rally

Former President Donald Trump praised fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter as "a wonderful man" at a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, drawing an estimated 80,000 supporters. Trump's remarks sparked concerns about his fitness for office and divisive language on immigration policy.

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Nitish Verma
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Trump Praises Fictional Serial Killer at New Jersey Rally

Trump Praises Fictional Serial Killer at New Jersey Rally

Former President Donald Trump praised fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter as "a wonderful man" during a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey on Saturday. The event, held under the shadow of the Great White roller coaster in the seaside resort town 90 miles south of Philadelphia, drew an estimated 80,000 Trump supporters.

Trump's remarks about the cannibalistic villain, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 film "The Silence of the Lambs," served as a rhetorical bridge to disparage immigrants. "But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations, the late great Hannibal Lecter. We have people who are being released into our country that we don't want in our country, and they're coming in totally unchecked, totally unvetted," Trump stated.

Why this matters: Trump's inflammatory rhetoric and praise for a fictional serial killer raise concerns about his fitness for office and the potential consequences of his divisive language on the political discourse. This incident also highlights the ongoing debate about immigration policy and border control, which remains a contentious issue in American politics.

This is not the first time Trump has expressed admiration for the fictional killer. In March, after actor Mads Mikkelsen, who portrayed Lecter in a television series, described Trump as "a fresh wind for some people," the former president made a similar comparison, saying migrants are "rough people, in many cases from jails, prisons, from mental institutions, insane asylums, ... you know, insane asylums, that's 'Silence of the Lambs' stuff."

Trump supporters poured into Wildwood from up and down the East Coast, with hundreds setting up camp overnight on the boardwalk to secure a spot at the rally. Pickup trucks decked out in Trump flags lined the streets. The event comes as Trump faces mounting legal challenges, having been indicted four times since the spring of 2023 on over 80 criminal charges related to attempts to subvert the 2020 election, retaining classified materials, and hush-money payments to an adult film actor.

New Jersey Democrats dismissed the significance of the rally, with Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill stating that many attendees were from out of state. Congressman Andy Kim said generalized apathy toward government has helped fuel Trump's support. Kelly Carter-Currier, a 62-year-old retired teacher from New Hampshire, expressed concern about the country's direction, saying, "The country is headed in the wrong direction... 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?"

As the 2024 presidential campaign heats up, Trump's Wildwood rally showcased his continued ability to draw large, enthusiastic crowds and dominate headlines with provocative rhetoric, even as he grapples with an unprecedented array of criminal charges. The trial over the hush money payments is set to enter its fourth week on Monday.

Key Takeaways

  • Trump praised fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter as "a wonderful man" at a New Jersey rally.
  • Trump used Lecter as a metaphor to disparage immigrants, saying they're "totally unchecked, totally unvetted".
  • This is not the first time Trump has expressed admiration for Lecter, having made similar comments in March.
  • The rally drew an estimated 80,000 Trump supporters, despite Trump facing mounting legal challenges.
  • The event highlighted Trump's ability to draw large crowds and dominate headlines with provocative rhetoric.