The Trump Files: Donald Has One Piece of Advice for Citizen Kane

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This post was originally published as part of “The Trump Files“—a collection of telling episodes, strange but true stories, and curious scenes from the life of our current president—on August 12, 2016.

Donald Trump’s favorite movie is Citizen Kane, the 1941 film about a publishing tycoon mogul who surrounds himself with material luxury but struggles to find happiness. “I loved Orson Welles,” Trump told Bloomberg’s Timothy O’Brien. “He was totally fucked up. He was a total mess. But think of his wives. Think of his hits. He was like this great genius that after 26, never did it. He became totally impossible. He thought everybody was a moron, everybody was this, everybody was that; if he had a budget he’d exceed it by 20 times and destroy everything. He became impossible. I loved that.”

In fact, Trump was such a big fan of the movie that he filmed a short video about it, directed by famed documentarian Errol Morris. “Citizen Kane was really about accumulation. At the end of the accumulation, you see what happens, and it’s not necessarily all positive,” Trump says, in what is fair to describe as an understatement. As he describes the film, Trump comes close to doing something unusual—he engages in self-reflection. “Perhaps I can understand that—the relationship that he had was not a good one for him,” the thrice-married Trump says of Kane’s declining relationship with his wife. He adds that “in real life, I believe that wealth does isolate you from others; it’s a protective mechanism.”

He muses briefly about Kane’s famous last word, “Rosebud.” “A lot of people don’t really understand the significance of it. I’m not sure if anyone really understands the significance,” Trump says, before remarking on the effectiveness of the word as a symbol. “Perhaps if they came up with another word that meant the same thing, it wouldn’t have worked,” he says. “But Rosebud works.”

At the end of the video, Morris asks him a question: “If you could give Charles Foster Kane advice, what would you say to him?”

Trump doesn’t have to think about it. “Get yourself a different woman,” he says.

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

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