Trump Rides ‘The Snake’ Into New York

Family of Oscar Brown Jr. not amused at his dramatic poetry readings

Who knew Trump like the poetry of Chicago social activists? The people of Long Island now do. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Who knew Trump like the poetry of Chicago social activists? The people of Long Island now do. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Jason Dick
Posted April 7, 2016 at 3:04pm

Because it just wasn’t weird enough, Donald Trump kicked off the stretch run to New York’s Republican primary with a rally on Long Island, treating the faithful to a dramatic reading of Oscar Brown Jr.’s iconic poem, “The Snake.”

Trump really likes to read, or shout, the poem, which is based on an Aesop’s Fable about a woman who takes pity on an injured snake and nurses it to health, only to be bitten and killed. He’s read it several times at campaign rallies this year.

“This is called ‘The Snake!!!” was how he introduced it in Bethpage on Wednesday.

“‘Oh shut up, silly woman,’ said the reptile with a grin. ‘You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in,'” is how the poem officially ends, but Trump adds some of his own flourish: “Believe me, folks. Believe me. Believe me. Now we all understand.”

Trump usually uses it to refer to what he regards as the threat of taking in Muslim refugees. But his own campaign is being threatened by Sen. Ted Cruz, whom Trump was once chummy with.

Although the poem works on a lot of levels, Brown’s 
family just wants it to stop, as the
Chicago Tribune
reported.

“We don’t want him using these lyrics,” said Brown’s daughter Maggie Brown, citing her father’s more inclusive political and social views.

But perhaps the most egregious faux pas of reciting the poem is that it’s from a Chicago guy. Bringing Second City culture to the Empire State? What – there’s no New York poets?