Understand Trump’s Take On ‘Citizen Kane’ And You Understand The Man

by | Nov 20, 2016

Donald Trump’s favorite film is Citizen Kane by Orson Welles. Don has good taste in films. Or so it seems.

Citizen Kane is about an all-powerful man (modeled in part on William Randolph Hearst) who owns a chain of newspapers. He lives in a gigantic tower safely removed from the masses that he purports to serve. One could make a superficial reading of the film and conclude that Kane is an American business hero worth emulating. Or one could see the film as an indictment of American culture and the ravages of capitalism.

Let’s hear from the filmmaker himself:

“Kane was an attack on the acquisitive society,” said Welles.

Which brings us to Don’s reading of the film. Does the President-elect see Kane as a sympathetic character? Is Kane someone he might model his own empire-building life upon? Or does Don see Kane as a tragic figure trapped in his lonely tower and driven mad by ambition and greed?

Welles said, “I do feel that a man like Kane is very close to farce and very close to parody, very close to burlesque.”

Don claims to be a smart guy, and he did graduate from the University of Pennsylvania. Maybe he is smarter than he appears to be on TV. I wonder, does Don see Kane or himself as a farce? There is no evidence of that he does, despite his successful career in “reality” TV.