‘Trump’s brain is rotting in front of us,’ says American professor

Academic and writer Sarah Churchwell also said that to claim that Joe Biden is as bad as Trump is ‘appalling’ and ‘dangerous’

Ellie Harrison
Tuesday 28 May 2024 15:44 BST
Trump praises 'great' Hannibal lecter at wild jersey shore rally

An American professor and writer has said that Donald Trump’s “brain is rotting in front of us”, and claimed that to compare him to Joe Biden is “dangerous and wrong”.

Sarah Churchwell, an American culture specialist and the author of a book examining division in the US, The Wrath to Come, was appearing on a panel at Hay Festival chaired by The Independent’s chief book critic Martin Chilton. They were joined by political podcaster David Runciman and We Need to Talk About Kevin author Lionel Shriver.

Shriver claimed that, ahead of the US election on 5 November, she finds herself “in a stage of total paralysis, because my levels of hatred on both sides [for Republican Trump and Democrat Biden] are just through the roof”.

Responding to Shriver’s remarks, Churchwell said: “Trump is criminally insane and it makes me feel insane that we are having a debate about whether this man should be leader of the United States. It is so clearly delusional.”

She added: “It’s deeply worrying and frightening that people say, ‘I can’t decide between them, but on balance I think I’d vote Trump because Biden is worse.’ What are you talking about? Trump literally said two weeks ago that Hannibal Lecter was a great guy. And he said wind turbines were wiping out the whale population. His brain is rotting in front of us.

“And then you have people saying that Biden is senile. No, he’s not senile. You may disagree with his policies, but Biden is not senile. It is ludicrous.”

Trump (Getty Images)

Churchwell continued: “Donald Trump has announced he will be a dictator, that he will suspend the constitution, that he will deport 10 million people… He wants to suspend American democracy. It is true and it is real. And the idea that there is an equivalence between that and Joe Biden is frankly an appalling thing to say or to think. It is dangerous and it is wrong.”

Sarah Churchwell
Sarah Churchwell (Hay Festival)

During the panel discussion, Runciman also presented a counterfactual theory, that a Trump win in 2020 would have made the world a better place. He argued that, had Trump served a second term, he would have by now been a lame duck, and been so gratified by winning again that he would be defanged.

Instead, he said, America is in a position where the country is re-running the last election and two geriatric men are not letting the next generation into frontline politics.

Hay Festival continues until 2 June; hayfestival.com

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