Heilemann: The Republican Party Has Become Trump’s ‘Death Cult’

MSNBC national affairs analyst John Heilemann said on Tuesday’s broadcast of “Deadline” that President Donald Trump had turned the Republican Party into a “death cult” by politicizing wearing masks to combat coronavirus.

Anchor Nicolle Wallace said, “John, I want to turn to that video that we saw that came from your outfit, The Recount of the Ohio lieutenant governor getting booed for trying to pass out and encourage people to wear Donald Trump masks. I don’t have a political question because I think it speaks for itself, but if you turn the cameras around, who do they think they’re booing at? Like what are they booing? Not getting a parent sick? Not killing their neighbor’s kid with chemo? What are they booing?

Heilemann said, “Someone last night when we clipped that video and put it up at The Recount, it went rapidly viral. It ran into vast numbers. It went crazy in social media, and someone commented, the quote was ‘nice death cult you got there, GOP.’ And that really is — this is the other thing. It goes back to another — like to one of the core — it really does. I’m using a phrase like death cult about one of the great American political parties in our nation’s history. To say that, we would have once seemed hyperbolic, but it increasingly does feel like the Republican Party has become a death cult, and it’s all about Donald Trump.”

He continued, “One of the things that sets Trump apart. Like, what are the things that set Trump apart from every other president? The pathology of the lying, the cruelty, the not taking this — not making the virus central when any other president of any party that we’ve ever experienced in our lifetimes would have made the virus front and center.”

He added, “But the other thing that he’s done on every aspect of policy and politics, since day one, he has always sought to divide the country rather than unite the country. And he and he alone turned the question of masks into a culture war issue. It is now a profound culture war in America, the war between those who believe that masks will save us or will at least help to save us and those who think they are an encroachment on our individual liberty. That latter group are in the thrall of Donald Trump despite all available medical evidence that masks would be the thing that would do the most to contain the virus. And it does increasingly. You join that cult. It’s the cult of personality, but in this case, because of the consequences, it is literally a death cult, and that’s what you saw on display in that clip. You saw the death cult roar.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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