Watching the Trump years at the White House is like watching Citizen Kane without knowing how it ends, without even knowing what “rosebud” will mean. We are, however, picking up the trajectory of the story and can clearly see that there will be a tragic ending because unlike all other Presidents who have either lost their bid for a second term or retired after two terms , Trump is highly unlikely to gracefully leave the stage he now so desperately needs to perform the endgame of a personal narrative he believes with monumental naivete he will write himself .
I am also beginning to think of Trump as the Shakespearean President because, like some of the playwright’s ambitious but psychologically damaged characters, he has lusted for a power that he barely understands and now that he has it he cannot understand why anyone should have a problem with his narcissistic behaviour. He lashes out (with Jacobean gusto) at anything that is critical of his performance. He also tends to let the blame fall towards others as is the wont of the powerful in many of Shakespeare’s plays.
And it’s all very Faustian.
Also it appears that his family is going to go down with him as corruption charges loom on some members who have displayed much blind, insulated and unironic egotism that is straight outta King Lear (though there is no Cordelia off stage waiting to bring some honourably ethical energy to the proceedings).
One thing that Charles Foster Kane and Donald Trump have in common is that they both inherited their wealth. And such is the state of the world being run by men who have inherited their wealth but see themselves as self made men, oblivious to how they are inflicting their personal mythologies, morals (or lack of) and bitterness upon society. They do not want anyone else to succeed. Both insist that “The People” must love them, everything else is fake, cruel, and an enemy that must be suppressed – and all to the applause of a loving, enraptured audience! Ultimately, both will take it any way they can get it, and therein lies the downfall; when the demands of reality begin to overwhelm deep inner longings and fantasies cannot be sustained; when all empathy is at long last, gone.
Only the child remains, happy in a little glass world that can be rebooted with merely a shake of the hand.
What do you think will be Trump’s Rosebud?