• The McLaughlin Group

This California Representative Survived Jonestown & Says Trumpers Have Definitely Drunk the Kool Aid

Contributor: Eleanor Clift


The McLaughlin Group
Photo Credit: History in HD - Unsplash

A few years ago, Jackie Speier resisted comparisons between Jim Jones and Donald Trump. But now, she sees them clearly.


Jackie Speier was a legislative counsel working for a California congressman when she was left for dead on an airport runway in Guyana, South America, in 1978. She was investigating Jim Jones, a charismatic religious leader whose Peoples Temple had come under scrutiny from parents alarmed at his hold over their young adult children.


Speier was shot five times by Jones loyalists and played dead in order to survive. Her boss, Rep. Leo Ryan, was killed, together with two members of an NBC crew following the story and countless others attempting to leave, including several defectors. That was only part of the massacre. Back at the commune Jones had established, 909 of his ardent followers followed him in a murder-suicide pact, downing a cyanide-infused flavored drink, an act of true believership that has since become known as “drinking the Kool-Aid.”


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