There’s a fan theory that best-selling author and master of horror fiction Stephen King predicted the rise of Donald Trump in his novel about a clairvoyant who foresees a demagogic salesman win the U.S. presidency and start a global war.
Flash-forward to the present, in which President Trump, without offering any evidence, accused his predecessor of wiretapping his campaign offices, and King mocked him with a horror story, told in three tweets.
A critic might argue that, tonally, King’s story is kind of a mess — starting off as light comedy in which Obama raids Trump’s freezer. (Or possibly a reference to a strawberry-focused investigation in “The Caine Mutiny.” Either way, not horror.)
But just wait. Writers love their plot twists.
The author has never been a Trump fan. “A Trump presidency scares me more than anything else,” King told Ron Charles, editor of The Washington Post’s Book World, during a Facebook Live interview. “I’m terrified that he’ll become president.”
King also made the same connection as many of his fans when he compared Trump to a populist salesman in his novel “The Dead Zone” who campaigns against the political establishment and, in the protagonist’s vision, ends up with his finger on the nuclear button.
Spoiler: The clairvoyant stops the salesman from becoming president. Whatever similarities one might draw between the character Greg Stillson and Trump, Trump won the election.
As president, Trump has demonstrated a hair trigger on Twitter — most recently on Saturday morning, when he fired off tweets accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower in October.
Back to the horror story that Trump’s tweets inspired. Chapter 2 of the “Home Invasion of Donald Trump,” by Stephen King:
Still, not really scary. But before we get to the conclusion, some brief exposition. Trump hasn’t cited any evidence that Obama spied on him, and White House staff have offered none — though a deputy press secretary called for an investigation and said: “If this happened … this is the largest abuse of power that, I think, we have ever seen.”
An Obama spokesman and a former intelligence director said there was no wiretap. Some speculated that Trump was referring to claims on talk radio and the conservative website Breitbart that Obama used “police state” tactics against him. Others accused Trump of trying to distract from reports that his staff covered up conversations with Russian officials during the campaign.
And some simply poked fun at the president. King was not alone there.
But as far as we can tell, King is the only one to put a “Psycho”-style spin on the mockery.
So, then, that last chapter:
Did you see that one coming? Honestly, the twist is a bit shopworn. But what can you expect? King has been telling stories for half a century, going after Trump for a full year, and wrote that last one in two hours.
This story has been updated to note King’s possible reference to “The Caine Mutiny.” Hat tip to the comments section for pointing it out.