Former President Donald Trump again called immigrants spiteful “snakes” at his Texas rally Saturday, using his often-repeated tale that ironically misdirects lyrics written by a Black civil rights activist.
Trump asked the receptive crowd at the rally in Conroe Saturday night if they wanted to again hear “The Snake,” adding: “This has to do really with immigration.”
He then read for the umpteenth time the tale of a kindly woman who brings a freezing snake into her home to save him — only to eventually be bitten and killed by it.
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in,” the callous reptile lectured her from Trump’s mouth at the rally.
Trump’s take: “And that’s what happening to the United States of America with immigration,” he told the Texas audience. “I think it’s pretty accurate.”
Trump has always inaccurately referred to the story as a “poem.” In fact, each time he tells the tale, he’s reading song lyrics written in 1963 by Black civil rights activist Oscar Brown Jr. The song was further popularized by R&B singer Al Wilson five years later.
Trump has hijacked a civil rights activist’s lyrics to serve his own racist and xenophobic ends, his daughter Africa Brown complained to Don Lemmon on CNN in an interview in 2018. In fact, she said, it’s Trump who is the “living embodiment of the snake that my father wrote about in that song.”
She said she was “absolutely outraged” that late father’s “words are being stolen to promote [Trump’s] hate message and intolerance,” she said. “And it’s absolutely wrong.” Her father, she said, “always worked with all people of color. He was never against immigrants.”
Daughter Maggie Brown characterized Trump’s political agenda as supporting “separatism, racism, sexism … that’s polar opposite to what Oscar Brown Jr. was about.” She said it was wrenching to see Trump repeatedly pull her father’s lyrics from his “breast pocket” to “quote his words verbatim every time.”
Brown, who died in 2005, based the lyrics on the Aesop fable “The Farmer and the Viper,” illustrating that kindness can be betrayed.
The sisters told Lemon that they had sent cease-and-desist letters to Trump to stop using their father’s lyrics beginning during his first campaign, but that they were ignored.
Check out Maggie and Africa Brown’s interview with Don Lemon about Trump’s exploitation of their late father’s lyrics in the video clip up top.
Oscar Brown Jr.’s and Al Wilson’s recordings of the song can be heard here: