\Let’s get this out of the way first: Stephen King did not create Donald Trump.
It’s an easy enough mistake to make.
For those on the left who observe the current administration with horror and disdain, the Trump presidency could be described as a national nightmare — and there is likely no writer responsible for more of our collective nightmares than King.
This is the man who gave us Jack Torrance in The Shining, Pennywise in It, the rabid Saint Bernard in Cujo, and the titular telepathic teen in his first novel, Carrie.
Then there’s The Dead Zone’s Greg Stillson, an outsider politician obsessed with greatness who cons his way into elected office and, according to a vision from psychic Johnny Smith, will one day end up in the White House where he’ll start a nuclear war.
The comparisons between the fictional Stillson and Donald Trump first emerged during the latter’s 2016 presidential campaign; King even reflected on the link between the two figures in an April 2017 article for the Guardian.
Now, over a year and countless Trump-centric news cycles later, King continues to see the connection — but he’s careful to note that he himself is no Johnny Smith.
“Greg Stillson really is like Donald Trump in a lot of ways.
[Trump]’s got the same sort of combination of real sinister behavioral characteristics, where you could actually believe that he would push the button, the way that Greg Stillson did in Johnny Smith’s vision, but he also has something that’s very appealing to people, which is truth telling, simple answers to complex problems, and humor,” King told BuzzFeed News from the Scribner offices in Midtown Manhattan.
“But it isn’t like I predicted Trump.”
And novels aside, King hasn’t been quiet about Trump.
Throughout the campaign and since the election, King has relentlessly derided the president, his policies, and his administration in tweets to his 4.8 million followers.
Yes, he compared “populist demagogue” Trump to Greg Stillson — but more recently, King has spoken out against Fox News, the NRA, and Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin.
Alongside photos of his corgi, Molly, and recommendations of the books, TV shows, and movies he’s enjoying, King’s anti-Trump missives have been a fixture of his Twitter feed.
While King’s widespread appeal as a writer has been largely apolitical, he has suddenly become a fixture of “#Resistance Twitter.” And to those who have long turned to King’s work as a way of grounding their fears and anxieties, there’s comfort to be found in the author’s role as a voice of reason through what some view as a time of unmitigated horror.