Tuesday was no different, as Trump bitterly tweeted about replacing members of his manufacturing council, who have reportedly left due to Trump’s failure to quickly denounce white supremacy following the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Aside from the president throwing another temper via his favorite social media platform, it’s his syntax that’s gained the internet’s attention.
In the tweet posted late Tuesday morning, Trump announced, “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on.” He then added, in all caps, “JOBS!”
As it happens, the phrase bears an uncanny resemblance to the slogan used by the Marvel supervillain group Hydra, who are, in essence, zombie Nazis fueled by supernatural forces. Their slogan goes: “Cut off one head, two more shall take its place,” referring to the immortality of the mythical Greek monster that is their namesake.
Unfortunately, the phrasing couldn’t be more timely. This past Friday, hundreds of white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended upon Charlottesville, a liberal enclave (Clinton won the county in the 2016 election), in a rally called “Unite the Right.” Things escalated Saturday when the rally, which was canceled, became ground zero for violence between white nationalists and counter-protestors, which ultimately resulted in multiple injured and one dead, a 32-year-old counter-protestor named Heather Heyer.
Hours passed on Saturday until Trump, who spent the weekend in New Jersey, finally rebuked the violence. But he did so by calling out “many sides” and deflected his role in the dramatic spike of white nationalism that’s surfaced among American citizens. It was another 40 hours until Trump finally denounced white supremacy.
Now, three members of Trump’s manufacturing council, who come from companies like Under Armour, Intel, and pharmaceutical enterprise Merck, have left Trump for failing to condemn the only side at fault in the expected appropriate time. But Charlottesville may have just been the last straw, as the Council has previously opposed the president on previous issues, such as pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. But it’s okay because Trump has “many to take their place.”
In the Marvel Universe, Hydra — an evil organization created by legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby — function as living Nazis who use the occult to further their quest for domination. Led by the Nazi general Red Skull, Hydra has been enemies of Captain America for decades, whose members live (and die) by their slogan. The phrase became popular when it was recited in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Just after Trump’s tweet, people on Twitter pointed out the similarities.
A popular Twitter account, @PresVillain, photoshops actual Trump quotes onto comic panels featuring the Red Skull. The resemblance, again, is eerily uncanny.
There aren’t “many sides” when it comes to white supremacy. But there are different sides to Marvel’s involvement with Trump. A number of Marvel’s comic writers, editors, as well as its film and TV stars, have loudly disagreed with Trump, including Captain America himself, Chris Evans. But fans have to reckon with the relationship between Trump and Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter. In early 2016, the notoriously reclusive Perlmutter donated a million dollars to one of Trump’s charities and appeared with Trump during one of his first press conferences as president.
When he first became a serious candidate in 2015, it was a common joke that Trump was a real life version of Lex Luthor, the arch-nemesis of Superman who used his status as a businessman to run and become president. Now, not only is President Trump not a joke, everyone got their comics wrong.