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Donald's Imaginary Friends

Rick Wilson on Trump's love affair with a fictional serial killer: "Lecter is everything Trump isn’t. Brilliant, profoundly worldly, educated, tightly, disciplined, and sophisticated a level Trump would achieve in 1000 years."
Published:May 15, 2024

By Rick Wilson

If you paid even the slightest attention this week to Donald Trump’s Wildwood, New Jersey rally, you’d saw this gem:

Now, the Lecter riff was embedded in the course of one of his usual blood and soil, poisoning-of-the-blood, browning-of-America white replacement theory rants, but this isn’t the first time by a long shot that Trump seems to believe that imaginary characters from fiction and real characters from history are…well, you know, his friends.

From John Barron, John Miller, and David Dennison, to the mysterious Jim in Paris, Donald Trump has always had a series of imaginary friends. He got it from Daddy. He rolls out fake characters to validate his ongoing bullshit tornado and to provide anecdotal backup for his lies, bullshit, scams, and ludicrous political assertions. It hardly matters to his audience that none of them were real. Like so many things in the participation trophy culture of MAGA, that the facts and truth of an issue are secondary to the vibes.'

Reporters, and even his supporters have long understood that Trump’s panoply of invisible friends is largely there to make points. The Trump can’t make rational discourse or argument. They’re there to be an amen chorus and nothing more. There are literary constructs in service to a man who knows what neither of those two words mean. 

Of course, Trump enjoys the support of an army of imaginary friends when it comes to big strong men. Big Strong Men(TM), so many of them come up to him with tears in their eyes, saying Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump (insert heartwarming and utterly fictional Trumpian story here). 

If Trump had that many people coming up to him with tears in their eyes, it would rival Catholic pilgrims arriving at Lourdes. 

But this weekend and the recent past, we started to see some new characters slipping into the Trump narrative matrix. 

Hannibal Lecter, one of the most frightening literary figures in the modern era and in a strange way, I think sees the Thomas Harris antihero as someone to admire.

Lecter is everything Trump isn’t. Brilliant, profoundly worldly, educated, tightly, disciplined, and sophisticated a level Trump would achieve in 1000 years. He is also of course, an insane serial killer, cannibal, and a psychopath.

Just saying, Judge Merchan…

I’m wondering if we’re going to see appearances on the campaign Trail from other notorious figures in history. Pursuant to that I’ve written for your speculation and amusement about some real and fictional characters who may be making their appearance soon. 

  • “Pol Pot. Nobody talks about Pol anymore. I call him Potty. The Pot Man. Lil Potty. Very strong leader though. Very strong. Very determined. People moved to the countryside. Too many elites in the city looking down on them. He took all the steps. Strong. Very strong. Killing Fields. We could use that.”
  • “Sauron. Remember our buddy Sauron? Good friend. Knew him well. Sure they said he was a servant of Melkor and wanted the One Ring to plunge all Middle Earth into eternal darkness, but that was just the mainstream fake news. Sauron was a builder, like me. Big Towers. Barad Dur, big tower in Mordor. The biggest. Almost as big as Trump Tower but not quite as luxurious.” 
  • “You know when I was coming up in New York, my good friend Patrick Bateman was really making a name for himself on Wall Street. Like me, he was really really popular, really really rich. Whatever happened to Patrick? Patrick here in the audience with us today, ready to make America great again. Great business cards. Always good about returning his videotapes.”
  • “It’s so good to be endorsed by my good friend Humbert Humbert. Met him at a party with Jeffrey Epstein. Very smart, very popular with the girls. They say he’s a very good writer.”
  • “They say I hate immigrants, but that’s just not true. I believe if you’re a good white person willing to come here and do the jobs Americans just won’t do, like my friend Anton Chigurh, America’s doors are open for legal immigration. Anton is a good man. Where are you Anton?”
  • “I’m proud to be endorsed by so many great American business leaders. Men like Calvin Candie truly make America great. Calvin is one of our great, great plantation owners and I don’t know if you know this, but he’s an expert on agricultural employment. One of our great farmers. I call him Sweet Candie.”
  • “Where’s my good friend Vlad? Vlad the Impaler. Impaler. Such a strong word. A bold world. So strong against the radical Muslims. And he started late in life! He didn’t impale anyone until he was 45, then he got good at it. Vlad’s going to help advise my Secretary of State Seb ‘The Dragon of Budapest’ Gorka.”
  • “Thanos. My good friend Thanos. They say he has hands almost as big as mine. So strong. So tough. Ready to destroy half of the life in the universe to make it so great again.”


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