Trump, Bashing Migrants, Likens Them to Hannibal Lecter, Movie Cannibal


In an extended riff at his rally on Saturday in New Jersey, former President Donald J. Trump returned to a reference that has become a staple of his stump speech, comparing migrants to Hannibal Lecter, the fictional serial killer and cannibal from “The Silence of the Lambs,” as he aims to stoke anger and fear over migration in advance of the election.

“Has anyone ever seen ‘The Silence of the Lambs’? The late, great Hannibal Lecter. He’s a wonderful man,” Mr. Trump said in Wildwood, N.J. “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 walked by. ‘I’m about to have a friend for dinner.’ But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations. The late, great Hannibal Lecter.”

He continued: “We have people that have been released into our country that we don’t want in our country, and they’re coming in totally unchecked, totally unvetted. And we can’t let this happen. They’re destroying our country, and we’re sitting back and we better damn well win this election, because if we don’t, our country is going to be doomed. It’s going to be doomed.”

Mr. Trump, beginning with his announcement for the presidency in 2015, has frequently claimed that those crossing the border are violent criminals or mentally ill people who have been sent to the United States by other countries. There is no evidence to back his assertion, and border authorities have said that most migrants who cross the border are vulnerable families fleeing poverty and violence.

But that has not kept Mr. Trump from saying that migrants come from “mental institutions” or “insane asylums,” and comparing them to the fictional psychopath.

Mr. Trump, who often veers into asides during his stump speech, then returned immediately to decrying the migrant crisis and criticizing the Biden administration’s handling of it.

Throughout his campaign this year, Mr. Trump has frequently brought up Hannibal Lecter, once calling him “legendary” and another time referring to him as a nice fellow. In Wildwood, he spoke on the 1991 movie longer than he generally does.

Hannibal Lecter, a fictional psychopath who paired human organs with fava beans and an Italian red, was played memorably by Anthony Hopkins, winning an Oscar for his performance.

It is not clear what Mr. Trump meant by “late, great,” given that neither the character — nor the actor who played the role — have died, in person, film or the books the character originated from.

“The Silence of the Lambs” is one of several references that Mr. Trump frequently invokes during his rallies.

Another favorite is the gangster Al Capone, to whom Mr. Trump often compares himself.

“I’ve been indicted more than the great Alphonse Capone. Scarface,” Mr. Trump said incredulously on Saturday. “Al Capone was so mean that if you went to dinner with him and he didn’t like you, you’d be dead the next morning. And I got indicted more than him.”



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