Sarah Palin is facing fresh derision after she denied that Donald Trump’s devoted Maga base was a cult — before accurately describing its cult-like characteristics.
Appearing on Newsmax, the former Alaska governor was asked about the scenes at the Versailles Restaurant in Miami where Mr Trump stopped by after pleading not guilty to federal charges of mishandling classified documents on Tuesday.
Newsmax’s John Huddy asked Ms Palin whether the former president’s supporters at the restaurant had engaged in cult-like behaviour.
“No,” she replied. “The definition of a cult is a group of people who are excessively supporting one another and a cause, all about conformity and compliance, and intolerance of anyone who doesn’t agree with what their mission is.”
Ms Palin soon found herself in familiar territory of being mocked by social media users.
“Sarah Palin perfectly describes the Trump cult while denying that Trump World is a cult,” wrote one Ron DeSantis supporter.
Michael Steele, the former RNC chairman, shared footage of a British reporter being called a “traitor” and angrily moved on from the Versailles restaurant after asking Mr Trump if he was ready to go to prison.
Sarah Palin asked if Trump supporters are cult members: “No. The definition of a cult is a group of people who are excessively supporting one another and a cause, all about conformity and compliance, and intolerance of anyone who doesn’t agree with what their mission is.” pic.twitter.com/9oQPlwcSlD
— The Recount (@therecount) June 14, 2023
“You mean like this?” Mr Steele wrote.
“By jove, she’s GOT it!” Anjali Deodhar wrote. “Apart from the first ‘No’ … everything else lines up perfectly! Congrats, Sarah!”
Experts have long warned that Mr Trump’s powerful sway over elements of the Republican Party amount to a cult of personality.
“He has become more authoritarian, more outrageous, and yet many of his followers remain blindly devoted,” Steven Hassan wrote in his 2019 book The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control.
After his arraignment on 37 counts of mishandling classified documents on Tuesday, Mr Trump’s motorcade went directly to the Versaille restaurant in a choreographed photo-op where he was doted on by supporters.