At New Jersey rally, Trump launches into bizarre riff on Hannibal Lecter

After a tense week of court proceedings in New York, former President Donald Trump spent his Saturday at a campaign rally, speaking to a crowd of supporters dotting the New Jersey shoreline.

He rattled off some of his greatest hits: Joe Biden insults, warnings of an open border, and complaints about political witch hunts.

More: Trump trial live updates: Listen to recording of Trump, Cohen allegedly talking hush money

But nestled between Trump’s usual talking points was some newer material, like disparaging comments about Manhattan District Attorney Allan Bragg, whom he referred to as “fat Alvin.” And—strangely—praise for the fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

Why was Trump talking about Hannibal Lecter?

“Has anyone ever seen ‘The Silence of the Lambs?’” Trump asked the crowd of supporters at the rally. “The late, great Hannibal Lecter. He’s a wonderful man.”

The psychotic serial killer is known for eating his victims in the Oscar-winning film.

More: Un-silence of the lambs: Donald Trump (again) praises fictional cannibal Hannibal Lecter

Trump continued, “He often times would have a friend for dinner. Remember the last scene? ‘Excuse me, I’m about to have a friend for dinner,’ as this poor doctor walks by. ‘I’m about to have a friend for dinner.’ But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations, the late, great Hannibal Lecter…”

In the same breath, Trump went on to make familiar attacks on migrants, saying, “We have people that are being released into our country that we don’t want in our country….”

It’s unclear what line of thinking made Trump invoke the fictional mass murderer – or whether he was encouraging his followers to act like Hannibal Lecter or referencing some flesh-eating bogeyman from south of the border.

This is not the first time the former president has discussed the “Silence of the Lambs” character. At a New Hampshire rally this January, Trump compared migrants – many of whom are coming to the United States to legally seek asylum – to the crazed serial killer.“Did you ever hear of Hannibal Lecter? They’re being dropped into our country. Hannibal Lecter is coming.”

How many people attended Trump’s New Jersey rally?

According to Trump campaign officials, nearly 100,000 people reportedly flocked to Wildwood, New Jersey for the beachside rally. They dubbed it a “mega crowd.”

But the Republican major of Wildwood had previously stated that the beach could hold up to 20,000 people, and roughly that many tickets had been requested.

It’s unclear just how many people showed up – and how many stayed through the winding 90-minute speech. On X, formerly Twitter, Walter Masterson shared “35 unedited minutes showing thousands of MAGA walking out on Trump while he’s still talking.”

USA Today reporter Zac Anderson posted a similar video on X, showing that much of the crowd had dispersed long before the former president stopped speaking. This whole area was full of people when Trump started,” Anderson wrote.

Meanwhile, the crowds were as big as ever in Trump World. Roger Stone, a staunch Trump ally with a storied past, shared a photo on X that he claimed showed an aerial view of Saturday’s crowd.

The image was actually a photo of massive crowds from a 1994 Rod Stewart concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil—not Trump’s rally.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump talks Hannibal Lecter at bizarre New Jersey rally



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