'They've been lied to': Former cult member lays out the method for 'deprogramming' Trump diehards
President Donald Trump's critics have often described his army of devotees as a "cult," and the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 makes it painfully obvious that many of those devotees have been radicalized by the president's rhetoric. CNN's Alisyn Camerota discussed the cult-like nature of Trump's followers with a former cult member on January 19 — Trump's last full day in office as president — and got his insights on what it will take to "deprogram" them.
Steven Hassan, author of the book "The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control," is an ex-member of the infamous Mooney cult. On CNN's "New Day," Camerota asked Hassan if he considers the extremists who invaded Washington, D.C. on January 6 cult members — and he replied, "I do. I think they were deceptively recruited by an authoritarian political cult."
Camerota listed some of the characteristics of a cult leader, ranging from "paranoid" and "lies a lot" to "stokes fear," "narcissistic" and "grandiose self-image" — and asked Hassan, "Why do people follow leaders with such odious characteristics? How does that happen?"
Hassan replied, "Essentially, people are wired to…. follow authority figures they believe are legitimate and to conform to people they identify with. But as someone who has studied brainwashing and mind control, the good news is that even though people can be radicalized, they can also be helped to come back to themselves. And that's what gives me hope for our country."
Hassan, however, also commented, "The bottom line is all of America needs deprogramming because we've all been negatively influenced by Donald Trump." And he went on to describe his own experiences with the Mooney cult back in the 1970s, recalling, "In 1974, I was fasting for Richard Nixon during Watergate. I was programmed to believe that democracy was satanic and God needed to take over America. And I saw people from my cult, Sean Moon, brought a bus load of people to D.C. So, I could have been there if my family hadn't cared enough to rescue me."
The good news, Hassan predicted, is that support for Trump will plummet after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office on Wednesday, January 20.
"Come Joe Biden's inauguration, I believe there will be a huge dropoff in followers of Donald Trump when they realize that they've been lied to," Hassan told Camerota. "Biden won the election. Confirmed!"
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