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TBD episode 5: A sit-down with the great Aaron Sorkin

The acclaimed writer behind ‘The West Wing’ and countless big screen anti-heroes dishes on his new Broadway show — and downloads on Donald Trump

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Aaron Sorkin, the writer who over the years has brought us A Few Good Men, The Social Network, Moneyball, The West Wing, The Newsroom, and The American President has a new project out — he’s adapted Harper Lee‘s iconic To Kill A Mockingbird for Broadway. Sorkin, who is an Oscar and Emmy winner, told Tina Brown on the latest episode of TBD that he knew the project would be a challenge, possibly something that could devastate his career, particularly given that it was adapted into one of the biggest movies of all time. But he’s pulled it off and the show has been a smash hit.

Sorkin talked all about the process of adapting an American classic, why he used the comments section on the Breitbart website to help him write dialogue for one of the characters in the play, and the lawsuit filed by Harper Lee’s estate, after she died, in a bid to stop Sorkin from completing the project.

Naturally, the conversation turned to Trump. Given Sorkin’s influence in bringing audiences some of American pop culture’s most interesting fictional presidents in the 1995 film The American President and The West Winghe has a unique perspective on the unorthodox commander in chief.

“We have been told by very smart liberals that what you and I don’t understand is that Trump was somehow able to tap into the economic anxiety of the shrinking middle class. And I would shake my head and think I’ve never once heard him do that,” Sorkin told Brown. “I’ve only ever heard him talk about himself and his enemies and I don’t get why they’re following him. You get it immediately when you go on Breitbart. They love him. Really for one simple reason: He is an excellent stick with which to poke liberals in the eye. They love that. Every time he sends a tweet that drives us crazy, they love him more.”

Sorkin went on to say Trump is far from being a savvy politician and communicator, as some observers have asserted.

“He’s not good at anything. He doesn’t have good political instincts. What he has done is — he is as low as his fans are,” Sorkin said. “And his fans … there’s not one of them that he would rent an apartment to. There’s not one of them that he would have as a member one of his country clubs and there’s not one of them who isn’t smarter than he is.”

Brown asked whether Sorkin would find Trump to be an interesting character to write, questions that prompted sharp responses from the legendary writer.

Listen to the full episode above. You can also listen to TBD with Tina Brown on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or hear each episode right here on Women in the World.

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