Trump’s Rosebud: Can We Have a President Without The Show?

Steve Deace and Robert Orlando are both having a big 2023: They meet in Iowa to grow the new national conversation

Joseph Serwach
4 min readJul 28, 2023
Trump’s Rosebud image courtesy of Nexus Media.

An interview with the award-winning documentary director and author Robert Orlando as he prepares to meet with popular Blaze Podcast Host and political commentator Steve Deace in Iowa:

When I heard you and Steve Deace were screening your documentary, Trump’s Rosebud, in Iowa, I first thought, “Steve and Rob sure have a lot in common.”

I agree. I don’t want to speak for Steve, but most importantly, we both have an independent streak in our work. We’re not quick to join personality cults or hold the ideological line. We see through a traditional religious lens but enjoy directly engaging with the broader culture.

Trump’s Rosebud and Steve’s 2023 film Nefarious started important conversations over the last several months. As you both travel across the country, screening your films before community audiences, how do you see these conversations evolving and advancing the narratives you’ve both been a part of?

In the most significant sense, the doc and film achieve the same goal: get people to think for themselves. Whether in politics or movies, we are comfortable speaking into the natural or the spiritual world. What Deace calls “The Spirit of the Age.”

I put Steve in my Trump film because I knew he would bring an informed entertaining personality and tell it like it is. It sounds cliche, but in our day, it’s not! It takes risk and courage.

Steve recently argued that Trump and Trumpism are more of a brand than an ideology, that we are loyal to and advance our brands unless and until a new brand takes its place. How does the branding argument fit with your search for Trump’s Rosebud?

That makes sense to me, and it is true. Trump is a sui generis in his politics or worldview overall. In the film, I compare him to Kane (William Randolph Hearst) because Hearst was also not an ideologue. Both were American firsters, both media moguls, and both were hated by both sides.

Our question is: do we also need “the show” to have a president? Is the show worth it? And even more challenging to answer is if the show is necessary to beat a neo-Marxist media Left, where do we go from here as Americans? We can’t just dilute or even lose our convictions and solely vote on the “better than the alternative” platform.

Iowans see it as their calling to meet and vet presidential candidates, to find the candidate’s Rosebud. What do they add to the conversation you’ve started?

The film’s spirit is like a Caucus. It explores and discusses the ideas of Trump, how he impacted the past, and how he will affect the future. I’m not shy to say, as do others in the film, with all his ego and bluster, Trump has not deserved the treatment he’s received, and some of it is downright criminal. He can genuinely claim to be a victim, but our question as voters is different: what is best for the country long term regardless of our loyalties — another question for or against.

You and Steve both seem to ask the big picture questions (and to seek the answers), while conventional wisdom always seems to get everything wrong as they keep asking the same step questions: “Who’s up? Who’s down? What’s going to happen?” Why do we get a better answer by asking these questions you tackle in Trump’s Rosebud?

From decades of assault from far-left forces and the soft greed of the right, the system is nearly broken, and I mean the whole system. Corporate, Political, Deep State, and Education, we have replaced the imperfect institutions of the past with a big media show: starring Joe Biden and Trump.

In this corner is a grayed puppet for global power, disinterested in American prestige or moral standing, and this corner, one who sometimes blends his interest with the country’s interest. We watch the show and are forced to choose, but is this enough?

Kane winds up alone and without anyone because, in the end, he cannot get everyone to love him, although he promised them extraordinary wealth and success. Jedidiah says at the end of Citizen Kane, “He wanted love on his terms.”

There is a Rosebud there, as with all leaders, especially those requiring this power level to be known.” Biden is willing to betray the country to serve himself and his family and has never done anything but serve as the face of other’s interests. So again, the system is broken. Could a candidate like Ron DeSantis or another, playing a straight shooter with a solid moral compass, defeat this system without the show?

What’s next?

I hope Trump’s Rosebud can serve as a tool in the caucus state of Iowa and remind Americans not to follow anyone or anything because our conscience ultimately binds us.

A forum at this time in a film theater, town hall, or even church is the place to have a private conversation amongst ourselves. We, the People, will determine whether we invite politicians or the media.

God Bless the Movies!



Joseph Serwach

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