Public Leadership Institute: Trumpism Is A “Death Cult”

Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour / Public Domain

Sarah Shaiman

The PLI compared Trumpism to Jonestown, noting supporters' willingness to compromise their health.

The Public Leadership Institute has called Trumpism a “death cult” after the president hosted massive rallies amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

  • The PLI compared Trump supporters to those who drank the Kool-aid at Jonestown, doing something that would knowingly kill them.

So, when we say Trumpism is a death cult, it means that Trump and his allied officials, organizations, and media outlets are persuading followers to do things that may kill them – especially refusing masks and ignoring social distancing. And like the Jonestown massacre, it’s not just willing participants who get hurt. Right now, Trumpists are spreading the disease to everyone else. We have a massacre every day.

  • President Trump repeatedly minimized the risk of coronavirus, even as cases soared in the United States. When he could no longer deny the reality that covid-19 was a severe pandemic, he began to peddle unproven methods to his supporters: Hydroxychloroquine, bleach, UV rays.
  • Worse, Trump made mask-wearing a partisan issue rather than a matter of public health. Trump has not publicly urged citizens to wear masks. 
  • Mask wearing is essential to minimizing the spread of the virus due to its extreme infectiousness and ability to infect a large number of people through pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic spread.

The PLI concluded,

[W]orse than those who spread COVID person-to-person are the political and media operatives who have willfully spread lies about the disease. They are playing the role of Jim Jones and his thugs who stood over people with rifles, encouraging and forcing them to drink the poisoned Kool Aid. They are monsters.

Read the full report here. 


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