Trump's Rhetoric Is 'So Similar' to Jim Jones, Says Woman Who Fled Jonestown Cult

Forty-two years after the Jonestown massacre, a former Peoples Temple member says President Donald Trump's rhetoric reminds her of cult leader Jim Jones.

Jones established The Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, a remote settlement informally known as Jonestown, in Guyana, in a bid to avoid mounting scrutiny in San Francisco, where his Peoples Temple had been based.

But when a California congressman and a group of journalists arrived to investigate allegations of abuse there, Jones orchestrated the killing on November 18, 1978.

Rep. Leo Ryan had been preparing to return to the U.S. along with more than a dozen defectors when he was shot dead in an ambush on a jungle airstrip. Three journalists and a defector also died, while several others were injured.

Hours later, Jones urged hundreds of his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch in what he called a "revolutionary suicide." Children were killed first and while some adults willingly drank the poisoned drink, others were forced to or shot.

A total of 918 people died that day, around a third of them babies and children, in what was the largest loss of American life in a deliberate act until the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Yulanda Williams, who fled Jonestown a year before the massacre and later rose to the rank of acting captain in the San Francisco Police Department, told KRON-TV that she sees similarities to Jonestown in 2020.

She believes Trump is "responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people" from COVID-19—and says his rhetoric is "so similar" to that of Jones.

Williams recalled realizing soon after arriving in Jonestown with her husband and one-year-old daughter that they had made a "grave mistake."

She said their passports and money were taken away when they arrived, but she eventually convinced Jones to let her family leave.

Williams recalled how members were malnourished, physically and verbally abused.

"There was consistent brainwashing going on because all day long and all night long when you try to sleep, all you would hear was him on the PA system yelling and screaming," she told the station.

Now, when she listens to the president, she is reminded of Jones.

"I sometimes listen to our commander in chief, he sounds so much and the rhetoric is so similar to that of Jim Jones," Williams said.

"But it is absolutely eerie for me and I think that over 240,000 people have lost their lives due to COVID."

"When we say Jonestown is the most tragic incident of a massacre of people, I say don't forget about the commander in chief who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people," Williams added.

Her mother, who was also a former Peoples Temple member, died after contracting the virus in July.

Williams has been contacted for additional comment.

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Pro-Trump protesters during a rally against the results of the U.S. Presidential election outside the Georgia State Capitol on November 18, in Atlanta. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images