Trump recites fable, affirms his support for Israel

It was story time with former President Donald Trump on Saturday, as he played to what he called one of the largest audiences in his campaign’s history, when he brought back what was once a staple of his campaign: his spoken-word rendition of “The Snake,” a song about a woman taking in the titular reptile, nursing it back to health, and ultimately dying from its bite.

What You Need To Know

  • Former President Donald Trump’s rally at the Jersey Shore on Saturday saw him once again recite a song that he claimed was about immigration, while attacking President Joe Biden on the economy and on Israel
  • Trump called for Biden and the Democratic Party to return money from “antisemites, America haters and financiers of chaos who have funded the chaos on our campuses,” without naming any such donors
  • The former president’s campaign claims that about 100,000 people attended his rally on Saturday
  • Trump also claimed that the country’s positive economic metrics are fake, that Biden is responsible for all economic failings and that the stock market is only up because people believe Trump will win the presidency

Trump has recited the song regularly in his rallies through the years, often using it to underscore his anti-immigration rhetoric. Immigrants coming to America, he said Saturday, are invaders. He claimed, without evidence, that countries across the world are emptying their prisons, dumping those prisoners straight into America. (For what it’s worth, the global prison population has risen by 24% between 2000 and 2020, only decreasing in Europe.)

His rendition of “The Snake” began after one of his anti-immigrant sections of speech, when he asked if they wanted to hear a song that “talks about illegal immigration,” and “how stupid it is what we’re doing right now.” And as the song escalates toward its climactic moment, Trump’s recitation only grows more fierce:

“I saved you,” cried that woman, “And you’ve bit me even, why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”

Ironically, the song was written by Oscar Brown, a singer-songwriter and civil rights activist who once quit the Communist Party after deciding that he was “just too black to be red.” The song also takes cues from one of Aesop’s fables, the Farmer and the Viper, which suggests that being kind to evil only results in being betrayed by that same evil.

Oscar Brown’s family doesn’t appreciate Trump’s continued use of the song. “The elephant in the room is that Trump is the living embodiment of the snake that my father wrote about in that song,” Africa Brown, Oscar Brown’s daughter, told CNN in 2018. 

But the large crowd of Trump supporters at Wildwood, New Jersey, along the famed Jersey Shore, loved the former president’s rendition and interpretation. Estimates from Wildwood officials suggested between 80,000 and 100,000 people would be in attendance during the speech, and their live reaction suggested that every single one of them enjoyed his poetic styling.

During his speech, lasting about an hour and a half, Trump repeatedly hammered Biden on the economy, decrying job growth numbers as “fake,” fixed,” and “rigged.” Statistics show that the U.S. has added 15.2 million jobs during Biden’s tenure, good for nearly 6 million more jobs than before the pandemic. The economy has also expanded each year under Biden, though growth slowed in the most recent quarter.

However, high inflation and relatively low weekly earnings have pummeled voters’ views of both the economy and of Biden’s work in the White House. Trump jumped on that, promising to extend his signature tax cuts should he take the White House again in November.

Trump hit many of his usual rally standards, including attacks on mail-in voting, immigrants, his criminal indictments and Biden’s economy.

But he took special notice to state his support for “Israel’s right to win its war on terror,” claiming that the Oct. 7 attack on would not have taken place under his watch. He also called on Biden and the Democratic Party to “return the donations of all antisemites, America haters and financiers of chaos who have funded the chaos on our campuses.” He did not name any particular donors to the Democratic Party who have also funded encampments on college campuses.

Trump has a history of associating with antisemites, he has defended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., for having “very good people on both sides” and has suggested that Jewish people who vote for Democrats “hate Israel.”

“I always talk about, we have enemies on the outside and we have enemies from within — the enemies from within are more dangerous to me than the enemies from the outside,” Trump said. “Russia and China, we can handle. But these lunatics within our government that are going to destroy our country, and probably want to. We have to get it stopped.”

Though Trump repeatedly asserted Biden’s incompetence, and that positive economic data associated with the current administration is “rigged,” he thinks that one positive indicator is accurate: the stock market, which he says is in great shape because people think he’s going to win in November.

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