On Thursday, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale went with a curious metaphor in his announcement that the president’s reelection effort would soon go negative on the presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden:
Though their oppo research may prove to be extensive, the choice of metaphor suggests Parscale might not have been paying close attention to the Star Wars movies in which both Death Stars were blown up by the opposition. (The first one was also used to carry out what was very clearly a war crime.) Parscale also inherently compares his boss to a leader who perceives himself to be an autocrat with a divine right to rule, who plays his advisers against each other and enjoys exacting revenge against his political opponents … okay, that comparison may work on some level.
Parscale’s metaphor isn’t the first time that the Trump camp has compared itself to a fictional force for evil. Below are some highlights from Trump and his allies, who may not have thought their comparisons all the way through.
It began on the first day of the administration, when fans of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy noticed a similarity between Trump’s inaugural address and a speech made by Bane, the villain of The Dark Knight Rises.
In Trump’s American Carnage-athon, he told the crowd in front of the Capitol: “Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.”
Bane, meanwhile, told the good people of Gotham’s Blackgate Prison upon their release: “We take Gotham from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity. And we give it to you, the people.”
The White Walkers
Game of Thrones fans don’t have to wonder whom Trump empathizes with in Westeros. This one, too, doesn’t seem to be fully thought out: Trump’s attempt to tap into the well-known series from George R.R. Martin to publicize sanctions on China suggests that he identifies as an enemy of humanity, a White Walker, bent on universal destruction.
The Trump campaign team has also compared him to another advocate of universal destruction, Thanos — though the creator of the Marvel villain, the comic-book writer Jim Starlin, wasn’t thrilled. “After my initial feeling of being violated, seeing that pompous fool using my creation to stroke his infantile ego, it finally struck me that the leader of my country and the free world actually enjoys comparing himself to a mass murderer,” Starlin told The Hollywood Reporter.
The Corleone Family
More recently, Trump has compared himself to the villain of Mutiny on the Bounty, but it’s the ethically questionable Corleone family from The Godfather that draws the most consistent comparison to Trump, his family, and allies like Roger Stone. Certainly the president’s frequent advice for his lawyers not to take notes and his self-described connections to the New York Mafia give some credence to the characterization.