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

Mother Jones illustration; Shutterstock

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

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.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate