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“Trump’s Takeover” the Documentary by FRONTLINE


The documentary titled “Trump’s Takeover” delves into the political intrigues that characterized President Trump’s first year in office. It was marked by unparalleled disorder that risked the stability of the Republican Party (GOP). Trump waged covert rivalry with the party’s leaders, made inflammatory remarks about politicians that aimed to rally his supporters, attacked GOP viciously on Twitter, outraged Republican Senators, and caused divisions among Americans. In the Documentary, the producers investigate how Donald Trump, a businessman and a novice politician became the president of the United States, with promises to streamline Washington, but instead caused political rifts in an effort to take control of the Republican Party. The film includes interviews with Congressional leaders, GOP’s officials, Trump’s confidantes, and White House officials. One of trump’s major goals was to take ultimate control of Washington by leading his party as a united front. However, his efforts revealed a deeply divided party that did not meet his expectations. Trump clashes with Congress in a bid to pass the bill that meant to repeal and replace Obamacare. In his demands for loyalty, he humiliates members of his party, especially on Twitter and during rallies.

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The Republican Party was confident that President Trump would help them to achieve their goals. However, he used authoritarian leadership to demand loyalty and get what he wanted. Even though he was harsh to party members, they were not equally as harsh. After his election, House Speaker Paul Ryan presented to him the party’s major agenda, which was to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump’s only interest was to get a win, and not on the fine details of the proposed bill. The passage of the bill was celebrated in the White House’s Rose Garden with a lavish party, disregarding the fact that the bill had little to no chance of becoming law. Trump was upbeat that the bill would go through the Senate, and give him the victory that he highly needed. The reality dawned on him when citizens opposed it vehemently during town hall meetings. As a result, Trumped trashed the bill by describing it as “mean.” A revised bill to accommodate the grievances of the Freedom Caucus came to the Senate for another vote, and Arizona Senator, John McCain rejected it, killing trumps hope for victory. This move was an overt expression of disagreement with Trump’s leadership style, especially for the way he treated members of the GOP. President Trump reacted to the loss by launching attacks on Twitter; he attributed the loss to Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump’s shocked the nation after he failed to denounce the white nationalists who initiated the violence that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. Instead of apologizing, he went on the defense to explain why he is not a racist. His former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski defended his actions. He launched an attack on John McCain and Senator Jeff Flake during a rally in Phoenix, Arizona. Moreover, he exchanged words on Twitter with Senator Bob Corker. In response, Flake denounced Trump on the Senate floor, even though other members did not warm up to his message. This moved is described as a miscalculation on his side. Desperate for a win, the Republican Party proposed a bill to cut taxes. It was passed and he held another celebration, during which members of the party praised him for his excellent leadership. It is evident from the documentary that Trump has his way with the party members. He succeeded in making himself the face of the Republican Party. For instance, after the aforementioned public spat with McConnell, the senator is shown heaping praises on the president for his exemplary leadership. He thanks him for the extraordinary feats that he had accomplished during that year. Senator Orrin Hatch claims that they were going to make Trump’s presidency the greatest in American history. These sentiments, provided proof that President Trump had taken full control of the party, and the members had no other choice but to follow him.


The documentary is highly detailed and filled with drama that characterized president Trump’s efforts to gain control of the Republican Party. The film describes how the party had no other choice but to accept him as its candidate. The events covered in the film are filled with conflicts between Trump on one side and members of the Republican Party on the other. The bitterness of these conflicts rubs certain personalities the wrong way, as they disagree with the president on some of his decisions. The producer of the documentary covers all the vital components of the struggle, and does it in detail. However, certain events that are important to the development of the story are exclude. The film contains several shameful actions that are not characteristic of a president. However, the producer focuses more on Trump’s wins and his presumed takeover of the Republican Party, ignoring his failures as a leader.

The drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed as depicted in the film. However, the producer does not provide a detailed coverage of how that happened. Apparently, the failure resulted from the failure of President Trump and the congressional Republicans to agree on key issues. According to Frontline, the presumed “takeover” failed after this occurrence. However, it was consummated after the bill passed, following a period of revision. This seems false, considering that his main goal was to get a triumph, just for the sake of winning. He was unaware of the contents of the bill. Therefore, the argument that the victory consummated his takeover seems too strong to be accurate. Moreover, his failure to convince fellow Republicans to pass the bill is an indication that he was not in full control of the party. The bill failed to pass because a republican senator shot it down, signaling to the president that he was not as powerful as he thought he was. Therefore, claiming that Trump had taken over the Republican Party is far-fetched.

The documentary has several monumental events that are not fully explored, owing to their pronounced impact. First, during the voting on the ACA repeal bill in the Senate, Senator McCain gives a thumbs down for the bill, much to the amazement of the house. His vote was responsible for the failure of Trump’s presumed first win. The documentary does not explore the event further, and excludes its implications to the president’s efforts and to the Republican Party. That was a historic moment, but it was given very little coverage in the documentary. It was an overt expression of McCain’s dissatisfaction with Trump’s style of leadership. Joshua Green of Bloomberg Newsweek contends that the vote exterminated Trump’s first legislative initiative, and passed a covert message to him that could not be ignored. Second, the documentary features a torchlight nightly protest conducted by white nationalists at the University of Virginia campus. The following day they were joined by Neo-Nazis protesters, and heaped praise on Trump. The documentary does not give a background story regarding the cause of the protests. Moreover, it does not show how Trump’s rhetoric had fueled hate in America, thus empowering white supremacists to protest, promising to fulfill his promises.

Trump played a grandiose role in dividing the Republican Party and the United States in general. However, the documentary seems to focus on his climb to the helm of the GOP. His actions reveal that he is irresponsible, and an authoritarian leader who will do whatever it takes to attain his goals. For instance, it is irresponsible for the president of the US to fail to condemn in the strongest terms possible the violence caused by the white supremacists. The producer of the documentary sugarcoats the events by terming them as protests. However, the events depicted in the film show otherwise. A driver involved in the protests used an Islamic State inspired tactic and rammed into a group of peaceful counter-demonstrators. As a result, a woman was killed and 19 others sustained injuries. Neither the documentary nor the president described those actions for what they were: acts of domestic terrorism. Trump simply condemned the violence and blamed both sides for the incident. His failure to respect members of the GOP, overt attacks on Republican congressmen, scathing Twitter attacks, and failure to taking responsibility for his government’s failures is appalling. He is a master at finding scapegoats to explain why certain goals were no achieve as planned.

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