Reaction Weekend

The Accidental President – a Q+A with film-maker James Fletcher

Was Trump's presidency an (un)happy accident? Reaction interviews the creator of the new Trump documentary seeking the answer

BY Alice Crossley & Caitlin Allen   /  20 February 2021

The Accidental President

Donald Trump’s presidency has always been framed as an extraordinary leap by one individual from a world of entertainment into one of politics. But what if Trump never meant to be president? Could, instead, a ploy for attention have spiralled out of control and led to the accidental degradation of the whole of American politics into the world of entertainment? Just so Trump, nearing his 70th birthday, could get another five minutes of fame.

This is the premise of the new Trump documentary, The Accidental President. Directed and produced by James Fletcher, the documentary tracks the 2016 US election to identify the series of events, underestimations and oppositions that led to a reality television star taking office.

With talking heads covering the campaign from both sides, an illuminating insight into the failures of Hilary Clinton’s campaign and an extraordinary understanding of Trump’s (conscious and unconscious) tactics, the film identifies the way US politics changed entirely throughout the course of 2015 and 2016. What was left was a new political landscape, defined by (social) media opportunities and with appetite for Trump’s appalling comments and lack of experience or presidential qualities. After all, as the film points out, “in reality television the villain is always the star”.

Alice Crossley and Caitlin Allen sat down (over Zoom) with director James Fletcher, to find out more about the making of the film and future of American politics.


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