In between writing bestselling novels — and writing the occasional column for Deadline — author Don Winslow has taken on a new vocation. He has been making very barbed viral videos that assail everything from President Donald Trump’s policies on combating the coronavirus pandemic to the president’s place in history. Winslow reveals here that he is so serious about these films that he won’t do much writing until after Election Day. He paused to answer a few questions on exactly why he’s doing this and how far he intends to go. Above is his latest film.
DEADLINE: Why make partisan videos when, from a business sense, you risk polarizing your audience?
WINSLOW: Honestly, I cannot worry about that. I’m an unusual case. I became an overnight success in my mid-50s and because of very good representation late in my career; money is no longer a concern. Donald Trump represents a clear and present danger to the United States and I am spending my money and time fighting him. From caging children at the border for more than three years now to bragging and laughing about sexually assaulting women on video. The recent revelation of Russian bounties on American soldiers and what did he do about it? Nothing. North Korea never stopped their nuclear program, in fact they expanded it. Working together with Bill Barr, Trump has destroyed the reputation and credibility of the FBI and the Justice Department as institutions. Nixon didn’t even do that. It will take years to repair. Trump is the only President in history who takes a victory lap for failing. His horrific environmental policies have set us back decades. His disastrous policies are destroying this great country and we cannot survive four more years.
Look at his response to the Coronavirus. There was never a national plan for tracking and tracing because that would have made Trump and his administration directly responsible. They knew how bad this was going to be in January and February and instead of tackling it, issuing national orders, Trump kicked it to the states.
But you cannot have a state by state policy with the worst pandemic since 1918. This is why we are in the horrible mess we are in. This is why we have 140,000 dead in this country and almost four million infected. And things, mark my words, are about to get a lot worse in August and September.
Trump wants kids to go back to school so parents will go back to work so the economy will appear to be moving before his election. He doesn’t care how many die to accomplish that. He knows his election depends on it.
This is what happens when you elect a salesman President. When the economy crashes this summer – and it will – it will be because the person running it has five documented bankruptcies throughout his business career. Why do you think he’s been fighting releasing his tax returns for four years? Well, it’s not because it shows massive wealth because if they did Trump would be taking out full page ads celebrating his wealth. He’s blocking it because it exposes that he’s not even a billionaire and that he has massive loans to foreign countries.
DEADLINE: You made your mark with the written word. What sparked the notion to make viral videos?
WINSLOW: I made a few and they really caught on. We are averaging 2 million views per short film and some of my videos like #TrumpTraitor which dealt with the bounties Putin put on the heads of American soldiers have reached more than five million views across all platforms. It’s an incredible thing to be able to reach millions of people in only a few hours. We are seeing a real impact with these short films.
Project Lincoln have been very supportive of my videos and have been sharing them across their platforms. I’m grateful for their support, particularly Rick Wilson, and for the support of so many millions of viewers around the country who have liked and retweeted my videos.
DEADLINE: What specifically did the president do to make you do these…what do you call them…films?
WINSLOW: I’ve been going at Trump since he was a candidate. Anyone can go back and look at my pre-2016 election tweets and interviews. I saw the danger. I warned everyone. I pleaded with people to not underestimate him. In the weeks ahead of the 2016 election I was actively saying Trump could win. People laughed when I said it. I knew what he was going to do if he was elected and he’s gone far beyond my worst nightmares. It’s extraordinary to me that 62 million Americans voted for this man knowing what they knew about him before Election Day. I think it points to a much larger problem that we have to address once Trump is out of office. I am also hoping to inspire others to join the fight against Trump, especially celebrities with large social media platforms. My short films have really taken off because of regular people being fed up and spreading the films. Also, certain celebrities have been enormously helpful. Stephen King and Rosie O’Donnell together have ten million followers and they have helped a great deal. John Cusack has been an incredible supporter, Josh Gad, Jeffrey Wright, Guillermo Del Toro, Drew Carey, Clark Gregg, Debra Messing, Patricia Arquette, Mark Hamill, Alyssa Milano, Billy Baldwin, Bette Midler, and so many others. And we need more. It’s very important that we increase our followers and expand our platform in July so we have three months to hit Trump ahead of the election.
We are now getting supported and retweeted by dozens of major journalists and even a number of Congressmen like Ted Lieu as well as major figures like Lawrence Tribe, Robert Reich (Former US Secretary of Labor), and so many others.
DEADLINE: What kind of impact have they had?
WINSLOW: My short films have had a considerable impact. I’ve seen it in real time, in number of views, in cultural penetration and I’ve been told my multiple White House correspondents and D.C. journalists that The White House is very aware of these short films.
But the most significant evidence is that Trump supporters have fought so hard to have my videos censored. They have falsely reported our short films as containing sensitive material (nudity, violence, language) when the videos do not contain any of those things. The press picked up on it and ultimately what they tried to do backfired, just as their attacks on Mary Trump’s book did.
Read about that here:
DEADLINE: How many more will you do by November?
WINSLOW: I’ve suspended my own writing until Election Day. This is what I am doing almost 24/7. We are averaging two videos per week. I’m waging war against Trump and his policies. I’ve gained more than 100,000 followers in just the last few days! I’m hoping my videos will continue to be shared. We really need some prominent celebrities with large followings to come out and support us. Honestly, I am hoping this interview inspires others to support and join me.
Here was a recent video where Winslow called out President Trump on reports that Russia allegedly offered bounties for killed American soldiers:
Another where he dissected President Trump’s engagement of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un: