Vanity Fair Asks Cult Expert How to ’Deprogram’ Trump Followers


On Thursday, Vanity Fair published an interview with cult expert Steven Hassan detailing how to go about “deprogramming” Trump supporters, while arguing for a “massive education” effort involving the participation of schools, mental health professionals, law enforcement, media, politicians, and intelligence agencies.

The edited transcript of the interview, titled “‘So Many Great, Educated, Functional People Were Brainwashed’: Can Trump’s Cult of Followers Be Deprogrammed?,” has Hassan, author of The Cult of Trump, describing his past as a former Moonie [member of the Unification Church] and his techniques for rehabilitating cult members.

“When I talk about the cult of Trump, I’m talking about a destructive authoritarian cult,” Hassan begins.

“As a mental health professional, we think of that as a dissociative disorder.”

Hassan then discusses “fourth-generation warfare” which he describes as “psychological warfare aimed at confusing, disorienting, numbing, delegitimizing leaders and institutions.”

“This has been practiced from without by our enemies, as well as from within by the Christian right, neo-Nazis, and other people with authoritarian goals,” he adds, before comparing Trump with prominent cult leaders.

“I compare Donald Trump with Jim Jones and L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology, as well as Sun Myung Moon, the leader of a cult that I was in for two and a half years,” he says.

Despite admitting to not being a licensed psychiatrist, Hassan attempts to provide a diagnosis of Trump.

“I would argue that cult leaders typically did not have a healthy childhood,” he states. “They have what’s called an insecure attachment disorder.”

Hassan then portrays Trump senior as an abusive “authoritarian.”

“In Trump’s case, we know his father was an authoritarian who used to tell him and his brother things like, ‘you are a killer, you are a king, you are a killer, you are a king,’ over and over again.”

“He was trained to do thought-stopping from his childhood, about any doubts, any negative thoughts,” he added.

Hassan also praises the suspension of Trump’s social media accounts, claiming the need to “protect” people.

“When people have asked me if it’s good that Trump was thrown off of Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, I answer emphatically yes,” he states. “Because we need to do what’s within our control to protect people from this constant reinforcement and indoctrination.”

Hassan also states his assessment that die-hard Trump-supporting cultists number in the tens of millions.

“I’m predicting that of the 74 million, in terms of the real hard-core mind-control cultist, I think we’re probably looking at 10 to 30 million,” he states, leading the interviewer to question just how to “deprogram” so many.

“How do we deprogram that many people?” the interviewer asks.

Presenting his “solution,” Hassan suggests the use of “massive education,” without clarifying just who determines what is appropriate for such a program and how it will take place.

“The solution, in my opinion, to this incredibly intense polarization that we’re experiencing, is a massive education about [the difference between] ethical influence and unethical influence,” he states, before pondering which form of “hypnosis” is ethical.

“I would say that a lot of Trump’s supporters are very much looking at media from that biased sphere: Fox News, Breitbart News, etcetera,” he states.

Hassan then calls for “a massive effort … (Read more)

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