He may be the master of horror, but in his latest interview, Stephen King devotes much of his time to talking politics.
The notorious author of thrillers like Carrie and The Shining spoke out in a revealing new interview with the Sunday Times, in which he called former President Donald Trump “a horrible president” and a “horrible person.”
“I think he actually engaged in criminal behavior and, certainly, I felt that he was a sociopath who tried to overturn the American democracy not out of any political wish of his own but because he could not admit that he had lost,” said King, 74.
The author previously called out Trump publicly back in 2020, when he criticized the president and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for their initial response to the coronavirus pandemic.
King, who is himself active on Twitter, also spoke to the Sunday Times about the role social media has played amid the current political and cultural climate.
“It’s a poison pill. I mean, I think it’s wonderful, for instance, that in the wake of George Floyd’s death, his murder by police, that you could muster via social media protests in cities across America and around the world,” he noted. “But on the other hand, it’s social media that has magnified the idea that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. And there’s millions of people who believe that, and there are millions of people who believe that the COVID vaccinations are terrible things. Some of the things are good, some are not so good, and some are downright evil.”
But the writer argued that fears of fascism in the United States have been overblown.
“There is a strong right wing, a political right wing in America, and they have a megaphone in some of the media,” he said. “They’re not fascists but they’re hard right-wingers. They’re certainly climate change deniers, so that is a real problem. But, again, it’s the stuff that’s crazy like QAnon that gets the press. You have to remember that Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by three million votes [in the popular vote] and that Biden beat Trump by seven million votes.”
Though King admitted he struggles to relate to Trump’s supporters, he refuses to strip them of their humanity based on their politics.
“I do understand that a guy driving a pickup truck covered with Trump and NRA stickers — you know, take my rifle when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers — would stop and pick up a stranger if he was in a rainstorm and say: ‘Where you going, buddy?’” he explained. “That guy might go out of his way to take him there because people as individuals are good. I think sometimes when they get to be a political group that can be a problem.”
For someone who is well-acquainted with horror, King has suffered significantly himself. He was gravely injured in 1999 when he was hit by a van while out for a walk near his home in Maine, where he lives with his wife of 51 years, Tabitha. Though his injuries included a collapsed lung and a leg broken in nine places, the writer managed to recover. These days, he’s just grateful to be able to do what he loves for a living.
“When I’m writing, I’m all about myself and about the reader, so that’s a great thing to have. I won’t say that I never in my wildest dreams dreamt of huge amounts of success, but what I really wanted was to be able to do it for a living. The rest has just been what us Americans call gravy,” said King. “It’s all gravy now.”