Frontline: ‘Trump’s American Carnage’


Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 9 p.m.

It was a sight that shook the world: Images of a violent pro-Trump mob storming the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the presidential election, threatening lawmakers’ lives, flying the Confederate flag in the building’s halls and erecting a gallows outside.

But the chaotic and deadly end of Donald Trump’s presidency was in many ways the inevitable result of four years of a president who stoked distrust, divison, anger and racism — and ultimately sought to undermine the election itself, with large swathes of his party echoing his claims.

How did American democracy reach this moment of crisis, and who is responsible?

In the new documentary special Trump’s American Carnage, FRONTLINE tells the inside story of how Trump’s presidency laid the groundwork for bitter division, violence and insurrection — and why many lawmakers went along with him in what one conservative commentator in the film calls a “Faustian bargain.”

“Our film identifies how, for years, the country’s political leaders missed, ignored and discounted clear warnings of the violence and chaos that was to come,” says FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk (America’s Great Divide: From Obama to Trump, Trump’s Takeover and United States of Conspiracy). With his team, Kirk has made more than 20 documentaries about the Trump and Obama eras, examining the growing divisions that led up to the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the ongoing fears around the country.

Tracing the path from Trump’s inaugural address, where the president famously vowed an end to what he called “American carnage,” to the violent siege of the Capitol.

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