Democracy on Trial: Heart-wrenching Interviews with Trump Loyalists on PBS Frontline


PBS with 4 partner stations located on the campuses of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NMSU in Las Cruces and at ENMU in Portales, New Mexico's mission in partnership with its member stations, serves the American public with programming and services of the highest quality, using media to educate, inspire, entertain and express a diversity of perspectives. PBS empowers individuals to achieve their potential and strengthen the social, democratic, and cultural health of the U.S.

Donald Trump during his years in office attempted to kill PBS. PBS costs taxpayers $1.35 each per year in subsides. It is also funded by large endowments such as the McArthur, Ford, Walton and the Rockefeller Foundations. Past research has also shown that the American public believes public media hogs a much larger share of the federal budget than it actually receives. For Donald Trump antagonizing PBS is a can’t-lose situation: public media is a highly visible, tangible enemy to his campaign unless you are Hannity and Fox News. And even if cuts don’t actually materialize, calling for them is a way to appear fiscally responsible and leading the charge to stop in the biased liberal media in its tracks.

PBS is seen around the world as the standard bearer for quality in depth reporting and analysis. Its affilation with almost every major university in the nation makes it an educational extension of the University system of the Unites States which is the envy of the world.

Thus past week an airing of Democracy on Trial, was aid and may be seen on YouTube. This documentary is heartwrenching in watching former Trump loyalist driven to tears and near breakdowns in their rememberance of events around the end of the first term for Donald Trump and the fight to overturn the election results. For many Trump loyalist during the interviews one can hear the pain and anguish of their respect for Trump and the presidency and their conflict with constitutional norms and the pressures and absurdities projected by Rudy Gullani and a group that leaned heavily into pushing Donald Trump down a nefarious path that could have shaken the very foundation of American Democracy and the peaceful transition of power the world has come to expect from the United States.

The PBS FRONTLINE team conducted more than 20 original interviews with journalists, lawyers, and current and former members of Congress who served on the United States House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. The film also drew on an archive that includes interviews with conservative commentators as well as Trump administration staff. The interviews offer perspective and legal analysis on the four-count federal indictment against Donald Trump.

The former president has pleaded not guilty to all four counts. These interviews can be explored below in video or text. The collection is part of FRONTLINE’s Transparency Project, which makes our source material available to the public.

Regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum for Trump, against Trump or undecided this documentary is a necessary and yet at times painful program to watch.

Which ever side of the political spectrum that one may belong to; the one conclusion all can agree on is the events of those final weeks of the Trump presidency led to pain, heartbreat, conflict and concern for the strength of American institutions of government and rather or not they could and can continue to withstand the barriage upon their very foundation by a variety of attacks both from within and from outside.

View the program at

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