It turns out that President Donald Trump is not the first Trump to try convincing people that building a wall will stave off disaster.
“The world will come to a flaming end at midnight tonight. Without my help and knowledge, every one of you will be dead,” Walter says at the beginning of the episode, which was posted to YouTube in 2017 before grabbing the social media spotlight this week.
TV writer Alex Hirsch tweeted about it on Wednesday, in a post seen millions of times.
The parallels between the ’50s Trump and the current commander-in-chief don’t stop at the wall: Sounding not unlike a 2016 speech by the president (“I alone can fix [the system]”), Walter Trump says on Trackdown: “Trust me. I can build a wall around your homes that nothing will penetrate.”
Similar to modern-day opposition to a Trump wall, some characters in Trackdown put up a fight.
“When we were kids, we were all afraid of the dark. And we grew up and we weren’t afraid anymore. But it’s funny how a big lie can make us all kids again,” a local judge says, unsure of how to stop Walter from taking over the town.
One character, Texas ranger Hoby Gilman, openly questions the salesman. Walter threatens to sue him — a threat the president has also made against his opponents.
Walter ultimately convinces his townsmen to pay for the wall, but at the end of the episode he is arrested and then shot, according to CBS.
Hirsch, who created the series Gravity Falls, shared his all-caps surprise at the incongruous connection between a 60-year-old TV series and today.
“What the fresh hell. This is REAL. Filmed in 1958- about a conman who grifts a small town of suckers into building a wall,” he wrote. “History not subtle enough for you? GUESS THE GRIFTER’S NAME (And watch until the end).”
As Walter Trump went viral, the president was visiting the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday, where he discussed border security. “We have to create a barrier,” he said at the border.
He has repeatedly contended the wall is needed to end an alleged “crisis” of violence, drugs and human trafficking, though the data about immigration does not back him up.
Meanwhile, the partial government shutdown over funding his proposed border wall has entered its 20th day and will soon be the longest shutdown in American history.