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Kane and fable: lessons for Trump in a film he loves

The US president’s enthusiasm for ‘Citizen Kane’ is well-documented, but the film’s impassioned critique of America’s obsession with wealth, acquisition and power must surely be lost on Trump

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Socialist undercurrents: Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

Socialist undercurrents: Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

Socialist undercurrents: Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

Oh to be a fly on the wall at the White House screening room. Once a humble cloakroom in the East Wing, it was converted into a mini cinema in the 1940s, and decked out in spanking red during the George W Bush administration. Jimmy Carter used the hell out of it, screening more than 480 films during his one-term presidency, and Bill Clinton was also a keen moviegoer, distracting himself from crises, presidential and personal, by watching such hearty 90s fare as Braveheart, The Patriot and Saving Private Ryan.

President Trump's use has apparently been patchier: he's more of a Fox News and reality TV type of guy, but he has shown movies intermittently in the White House cinema, beginning, we are told, with Finding Dory. Other sporadic screenings during his tumultuous term have included Joker, The Greatest Showman and - puzzlingly - The Post.

That last film, much lauded on its release in 2017, dramatised The Washington Post's decision to publish extracts of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, revealing the sorry details of America's 20-year involvement with Vietnam. The Post championed the free press; Trump does not. One wonders if he caught any of its not-so-veiled references to him.