Anatomy of a dem­a­gogue

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

He has dom­i­nated the head­lines since he an­nounced his pres­i­den­tial run, but how much do we un­der­stand about the eerily charis­matic but po­lar­is­ing Don­ald Trump?

We know him as the brash­est of bil­lion­aires (“Part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich”); and a ruth­less re­al­ity TV star (“You’re fired”); and a loose-lipped ladies’ man. We know so well now that he’s ag­gres­sive and polem­i­cal (“How stupid are these pres­i­dents?”) and that he’s in it to win it (“We will have so much win­ning”), but what makes this seem­ingly fic­tional crea­ture tick?

Is he in fact real or is “The Don­ald” merely a care­fully crafted im­age, as so many of us sus­pect, gifted at elic­it­ing peo­ple’s anger?

This doc­u­men­tary, orig­i­nally made for the A&E net­work, takes us on the Don­ald Trump Mag­i­cal Mys­tery Tour. We hear from those who know him best in­clud­ing fam­ily, celebri­ties, au­thors, friends and en­e­mies. (“I don’t know if he’s fun­da­men­tally an­gry or ... that he feels there’s a hole in­side him that he’s try­ing to fill,” says US po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant Matthew Dowd.)

His over­sized ego and com­pet­i­tive na­ture, the glam­orous women, and his re­lent­less drive to con­trol and ma­nip­u­late are all on dis­play in this bi­o­graph­i­cal pro­file. It may be lit­tle more than a pa­rade of talk­ing heads, some beam­ing, some nod­ding rue­fully in de­jec­tion, but the seem­ingly end­less clips of Trump’s per­for­mance as the pop­ulist dem­a­gogue speak­ing the lan­guage of the plain peo­ple are worth the price of ad­mis­sion.

“How does a guy in the 26th floor of the Trump Tower hear what those pissed-off, out-of-work welders in Michi­gan are think­ing?” asks Rolling Stone’s Paul Solotaroff.

“It’s a gift, and he’s got it.”

Who Is Don­ald Trump?, Thurs­day, 7.30pm, His­tory (611)

Fam­ily, friends and foes of­fer their in­sights on pre­sump­tive US Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump

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