He's dropping little clues: The troubling message we are missing from Trump's MAGA rallies

Trump's revenge plot remains hidden in plain sight

By Chauncey DeVega

Senior Writer

Published April 18, 2024 5:31AM (EDT)

Former President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he leaves court on the second day of his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 16, 2024 in New York City. (Mark Peterson-Pool/Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he leaves court on the second day of his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 16, 2024 in New York City. (Mark Peterson-Pool/Getty Images)

During a rally last Saturday in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, the last such event before his criminal trial began on Monday in Manhattan, Donald Trump displayed his authoritarian and fascist behavior and beliefs to the extreme. He continued to preach his Big Lie about the 2020 election being “stolen” from him, claimed he is being “persecuted” and tried to intimidate the judges, prosecutors, and other members of law enforcement working to hold him accountable for his actions. Trump, a master propagandist, used the classic tactic of projection, accusing President Biden of being a “demented tyrant” and the real enemy of democracy who would destroy the country if re-elected.

“This election is a choice between the Biden-fascist state or the American republic," he told his MAGA crowd. 

During his Saturday speech, Trump also continued to amplify antisemitic conspiracy theories about George Soros and again compared himself to the legendary gangster and murderer Al Capone. His ego demanded that he say something about Iran’s retaliatory attack on Israel, falsely claiming that Iran would never dare to do such a thing if he were president. In January 2020, the Iranians launched a missile attack against a U.S. base in Iraq. Donald Trump was still president of the United States at the time.  

During his Saturday speech, Trump also had a moment of raw honesty and candor, sharing how, “I love women more than I love anything. I love women.” That is true if one understands Trump’s definition of love to mean the dozens of women he has been credibly accused of sexually harassing and sexually assaulting. E. Jean Carroll would most certainly have something to say about Trump’s “love.” Stormy Daniels will also have much to say about the ex-president’s special “love” during his election interference trial in Manhattan.

Trump told his thousands of followers gathered before him that he wants the power to determine when presidential elections (and presumably other elections) take place. Trump is literally reading a page from the dictator’s playbook. At the end of his speech in Pennsylvania, Trump, channeling Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, reached a crescendo by threatening those Americans —  a group he has previously targeted as “vermin” and “traitors” — who are poisoning the “blood” of the nation:

[T]ogether we are taking on some of the most menacing forces and vicious opponents our people have ever seen. They are vicious and they are horrible. But no matter how hateful and corrupt the communists and criminals we’re fighting against may be, you must never forget this nation does not belong to them. This nation belongs to you. This is your home. This is your heritage. And our American liberty is your God-given right. Your God-given right.

From Harrisburg to Pittsburgh, from Easton to Bethlehem, and from Johnstown to Allentown, we stand on the shoulders of American legends, who poured out their blood, sweat and tears, for our rights and for our freedoms. And it’s been a very rough period of time. I’ll tell you what, for this country. It’s never had. I don’t think our country has ever been so low, but we’re going to change it. We’re going to get numbers like nobody’s ever seen. I think we’re going to swamp them. And this isn’t drain the swamp. This is we’re going to swamp them. We’re also going to drain the swamp. It’s a double swamp.

Predictably, the American mainstream news media did not cover Trump’s Schnecksville political speech and rally in great detail. Instead, such journals of record as the New York Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, The Associated Press, and NPR summarized Trump’s speech and the events of that day in a manner that, for the most part, literally whitewashes the abnormal, the aberrant, and the inherent dangerousness of what the corrupt ex-president and the larger antidemocracy movement represent to the country and the world.

During his rally on Saturday, Trump continued to manifest what appears to be a diseased mind and how he is mentally decompensating under the extreme pressures of his numerous criminal trials, hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties and legal expenses, and the 2024 election and his crusade to be America’s first dictator. To that point, Trump had repeated difficulties with speech and thinking, where he used the following nonsense words and phrases: “Adlinthin," "Magastine," and "weak nicks," as Raw Story details:

Trump in one instance said that the people of Israel are under attack because the United States has shown "great weak nicks."…

In another instance, as Trump was calling Rolling Stone a liberal outlet, he accidentally called it a "magastine."…

In a third example, Trump at his rally was talking about immigration when he invented the word "adlinthin," according to onlookers.

"Just last week it was reported that an illegal adlinthin— and you just look at this, what's happening"….

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There was another important recent news story that the American mainstream news media largely ignored. Trump recently shared a campaign-propaganda video about the solar eclipse which The Independent, a British news outlet, described as follows:

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it the moon crossing the sun? No, it’s Donald Trump’s head.

Seven years on from the notorious moment where he stared directly at the sun during the last solar eclipse over the US, the former president is jumping on the sungazing bandwagon yet again.

On Sunday night, Mr Trump posted a bizarre campaign ad on Truth Social where his own head takes on the role of the moon – blocking out the sun and plunging America into total darkness.

The video begins with the words “the most important moment in human history is taking place in 2024” emblazoned over an image of the flaming sun, while dramatic music plays in the backdrop.

Images show large crowds gathered to watch the solar event, staring up at the sky wearing protective glasses.

The footage moves between the awestruck crowds and the sun where a huge silhouette begins to slowly move across it.

But, it’s not the moon causing the rare phenomenon. It’s the outline of Mr. Trump’s head – complete with quaff, bushy eyebrows and long neck.

As his head covers the entirety of the sun – creating its own solar eclipse – a phrase flashes across the screen: “We will save America. And make it great again.”

The message of Trump’s “eclipse” video is rather obvious: he is a type of God and prophet or messiah on Earth, an Ozymandias figure of sorts, whose powers are greater than the sun and such fundamental forces as gravity and the movement of the stars and planets. As some of the country’s leading mental health professionals have repeatedly warned, Donald Trump appears to actually believe in such delusions and absurdities. Based on their behavior, the MAGA political cultists also appear to be believe that their Dear Leader has such superpowers.

Donald Trump wants to be worshipped; his followers want to worship him; this should terrify any reasonable and thinking person in the United States who values their freedom and safety, and that of their loved ones and other people they care about.

During this, the first week of Donald Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan, he has been hostile and disrespectful to the court. Trump also appears to be quite tired as he has fallen asleep several times, his mouth open, and his head slouched down.

Is this funny? Those people who are eager to laugh at mock the aspiring dictator have of course found great sport and entertainment in it. As I have repeatedly warned, many people laugh and mock Donald Trump because, at their core, they are actually terrified of him and what he represents.

Some expert observers have focused on Donald Trump’s sleeping in court as evidence that he may have dementia or some other brain disease. I am not qualified to make that assessment.

There is the simplest explanation: Donald Trump is an older man who appears to be overweight and is under a great deal of pressure; This would make Donald Trump very tired – as it would most people, be they younger or older.

But when I look at “Sleepy Trump”, I am more concerned about what is going on in his twisted and evil mind. If there was a thought bubble above Trump’s head, like in a comic book or graphic novel, it would likely show images of revenge and destruction and other malevolence as he does horrible things to the judges, the witnesses, the jurors, the prosecutors, Jack Smith, Merrick Garland, President Biden, E. Jean Carroll, Stormy Daniels, and any and all people who dare to oppose or otherwise do not support him.

Making fun of “Sleepy Trump” makes people feel good. But the far more important story is Donald Trump’s drive to unlimited power and what he and his followers are going to do when and if he escapes the law and becomes the country’s first dictator.

By Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega is a senior politics writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

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