March 27, 2024

The Movies In Trump’s Mind

Rick Perlstein traces the origins of Trump’s current nonsense to remembered moments in Hollywood movies of the 1970s and 1980s.

There was the time in the last year of his presidency, amid outbreaks of violence during Black Lives Matter protests, when he promised: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." That was a memory he’d loosed from round about 1967, when it was a slogan of Miami’s racist police chief Walter E. Headley. His onstage panegyrics in the opening months of his 2016 presidential campaign cited the 1974 vigilante fantasy Death Wish. ("Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct," he lamented. Wrong as usual. It was remade in 2018.)