Kingsman: The Golden Circle isn't exactly what one might call inspired by real events. And yet, the highly anticipated sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service was, in part, inspired by true events, namely President Donald Trump. Whether or not the president in Kingsman 2 is based on Trump, the fact remains that the recent shift in global politics certainly played a role when it came to writing The Golden Circle.
"I think it [The Golden Circle] very much is political," star Taron Egerton told Den of Geek. "I think I can say there's a 'presidential' thread that runs through the new film." Fans of Kingsman will remember that the first film did feature a nod to then-President Obama, placing the Kingsman in some warped version of the real world. It makes sense, then, that The Golden Circle would allude to Trump in some way.
Moreover, Egerton noted that just as the first film dealt with the very real problem of climate change and overpopulation, the sequel would also be tackling real global challenges. "I think I that, each time, whenever there's a new global threat that arises in the world of Kingsman, it will be something that may have genuine relevance," he added.
This time around, the Kingsman are trading overpopulation for the opioid epidemic, courtesy of new villain Poppy. In The Golden Circle, Poppy, an American drug dealer who plans on taking her business out of the shadows, sets her sights on the Kingsman, destroying their headquarters and forcing Eggsy to travel to America. Stateside, Eggys meets up with the Statesman, the American version of the Kingsman. Together, they must find a way to stop Poppy's evil plan — spoiler alert — which involves blackmailing the American president by threatening the lives of all the drug users in the U.S.
This is where the real parallels between the Kingsman 2 president and Trump really come into play. First, to butter him up, Poppy tells the president, as played by Bruce Greenwood, that she supports his mission to "keep our country great." But aside form this wink to Trump's "Make America Great" slogan, The Golden Circle also alludes to Trump's inaction concerning the opioid crisis. In response to Poppy's threats, the on-screen president hatches a plan of his own: let all the drug users die. Not only that, but he houses them in stacked cages, makeshift prison camps called "field hospitals," as he waits for them to die. If it sounds like the president in The Golden Circle doesn't care about people, it's because he doesn't. All he cares about is winning the war on crime. In other words, the president in Kingsman 2 is obsessed with law and order, not helping people in need.
The opioid epidemic in the United States is a huge crisis, and, as such, it played a big role in the 2016 election. Trump's response since taking office has been mixed, to say the least. In August, he appeared to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, telling reporters, via NBC News, "The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I'm saying officially, right now, it is an emergency. It's a national emergency." Over a month later, Trump has yet to take any official steps to declare such a national emergency, which would allow for more federal funding to combat the drug epidemic across the country. His most recent action concerning the matter has been to declare the week of Sept. 17-23, 2017, as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, which is mostly, if not entirely, a symbolic gesture. Though Trump's motivations for failing to take action on the opioid epidemic remain unclear, it's not all that surprising, especially considering his campaign focus on being the "law and order" president.
Just like Trump, the president in The Golden Circle shows very little empathy for anyone who may have broken the law. Trump's appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and recent pardon of Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff whose crimes include keeping prisoners in tent prisons under hellish conditions, is proof of his "law and order" agenda. And earlier this year, the President advocated for police officers to manhandle people they arrest, telling a crowd in Long Island, "And when you see these towns, and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, 'Please don't be too nice.'"
Whether or not the president in Kingsman: The Golden Circle is directly based on Trump or not, the film definitely takes a position on what a President is expected to do to help his country's citizens. Now it's up to Trump to prove he's not the president in the movie.