Anatomy of a demagogue
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This documentary, originally made for the A&E network, takes us on the Donald Trump Magical Mystery Tour.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