Trump rhetoric is ‘so similar’ to Jim Jones, says Jonestown massacre survivor

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Matt Mathers
·2 min read
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<p>Cult leader murdered 918 of his followers</p> (Associated Press)

Cult leader murdered 918 of his followers

(Associated Press)

A Jonestown massacre survivor has compared the rhetoric of Donald Trump to that of Jim Jones, the cult leader who orchestrated the mass murder of nearly 1,000 of his followers.

Yulunda Williams, who fled the The People's Temple Agricultural Project a year before the massacre took place in 1978, also accused the president of being responsible for the coronavirus deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

"I sometimes listen to our commander-in-chief - he sounds so much [like him] and the rhetoric is so similar to that of Jim Jones," Ms Williams said.

"But it is absolutely eerie for me and I think that over 240,000 people have lost their lives due to Covid," she added.

Speaking to KRON-TV earlier this week, Ms Williams recounted the horror of living inside the warped cult, drawing parallels between the outgoing president's refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of the pandemic to Jones's brainwashing techniques.

"There was consistent brainwashing going on because all day long and all night long when you try to sleep, all you would hear was him on the PA system yelling and screaming," Ms Williams told the outlet.

"When we say Jonestown is the most tragic incident of a massacre of people, I say don't forget about the commander-in-chief who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people," Ms Williams added.

Jones, a preacher and self-professed faith leader, founded his cult in San Franciso during the 1950s. In a bid to evade mounting scrutiny by authorities, he later moved to Jonestown, a remote settlement in Guyana, taking his followers with him.

When a California lawmaker led a delegation to Jonestown to investgate allegations of abuse, Jones began organising the killing of hundreds of men and women, many of them children.

Former Republican congressman Leo Ryan, around a dozen defectors and a number of journalists were killed during the intervention. A short time later, Jones ordered his followers to drink beverages laced with cyanide in what he claimed was a "revolutionary suicide".

Those who refused were shot and Jones later turned the gun on himself. Some 918 people died in the massacre, around 300 of them children. The slaughter was said to be the largest loss of American life in a deliberate act until the 9/11 terror attacks.

Ms Williams, who was aged just 12 when she began attending Peoples Temples gathering in San Franciso, has since joined the city's police department. Her mother was roped into the cult and died in July after contracting Covid-19, KRON-TV reported.

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