Citizen Trump: A Director’s Mea Culpa

After a stormy ever-changing year, Robert Orlando provides new clarity to ‘Citizen Trump’ story

Joseph Serwach


Theatrical poster for “Citizen Trump,” courtesy Nexus Media.

Ten months after the debut of Citizen Trump: A One Man Show, director Robert Orlando is back with a clarifying director’s cut now available online.

Like many deep thinkers, Orlando’s perspective on Donald Trump evolves with the evidence (he calls this updated version of the film a mea culpa).

The new film debuts as Simon & Schuster releases the book version of the same story on June 15. Below is a question and answer with the director/author:

Why come back so quickly with a second version of the same film?

Orlando: “For one, to be practical. When I made it the first time in the middle of a pandemic, we lost two-thirds of our financing, and Amazon was blocking it in the run-up to the election, so it never really had its day in the sun.”

Time passed rapidly; a new regime and racing events made us look at everything from fresh perspectives. As a result, so much of the present and future of a world without Trump is becoming more clear.”

“Trump as a big character stays the same. In the film, we show him saying he was pretty much the same guy — as a first grader. Both Trump lovers and haters might agree on that much. But, then, we look back a year later and ask what was the media telling us that turned out to be totally wrong?”

After a year of working on the story, how have your perspectives evolved?

Orlando: “Before the virus, Trump was destined to win a second term, so I thought being more critical of the ‘media man’ and the whole ‘game-show style’ of ‘politics as entertainment’ needed to be addressed. I still stand by that.

“It’s been a heartfelt time. When the first lockdowns hit, I was trapped in my studio as someone living in a New Jersey ghost town. Only New York was hit harder than New Jersey, and the rest of the country didn’t see what we saw.”

“At times, I found the divisive rhetoric or exaggerations so angering because we all wanted Trump to turn it off. We did not want to hear the same rhetoric style we heard at his rallies or during the…



Joseph Serwach

Story + Identity = Mission. Leadership Culture, Journalism, Branding Education. Inspiration: Catholic, Polish.