Administration

Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House'

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Friday compared President Trump to the Rev. Jim Jones, the infamous cult leader who led hundreds to their death Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978.

Scaramucci, a previous Trump aide and television surrogate, has turned on the president and condemned his administration. Trump fired back on Monday with an attack on his ex-staffer, tweeting that Scaramucci is a "nut job" that he "barely knew."

"He has gone past the bounds of normalcy on so many things," Scaramucci said on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time" Thursday night.

The short-term former aide said there are signs that the president has gone "full-blown crazy" and echoed his concerns that there is a "hostage crisis" with White House employees.

"They absolutely hate the guy's guts, but they're scared out of their minds," Scaramucci said of unnamed Trump officials. "Look at what he did to me and my wife this week. He's lighting me and my wife up on his 150 million Twitter, social media slash accounts."

"I'm a private citizen," he continued. "He may not have early-stage dementia but he has full blown early-stage fascism."

More than 900 people died at Jones's "People's Temple," most of them from consuming cocktails of cyanide and other drugs mixed with a flavored drink.

Jones ordered the event, which he called "revolutionary suicide." He also called for an attack on a congressional delegation attempting to help individuals flee the colony, killing Rep. Leo Ryan (D-Calif.) and four others. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who was a congressional staffer for Ryan at the time, survived being shot five times.

Scaramucci has not been the first to compare Republicans to the Jonestown cult.

John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Clinton and special adviser to President Obama, apologized in 2013 for comparing the GOP party to the People's Temple group. 

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for then-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), cited Speier in his condemnation of the remarks.

"For those who've forgotten, a Democratic member of Congress was murdered in Jonestown and a current one, Rep. Jackie Speier, was shot five times during the same incident," Buck said. "If this is the attitude of the new White House, it's hard to see how the president gets anything done again." 

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