Tony Soprano Would Think Donald Trump Is 'Penny Ante,' Says Creator David Chase

Thursday is the 20th anniversary of The Sopranos premiere on HBO, and creator David Chase, like so many of us, has President Donald Trump on his mind.

In a New York Times retrospective on The Sopranos, Chase described what he believed the show did that television hadn't done before. "The use of a deeply flawed hero and his problems," Chase said. "When news shows talk about Trump, for example, they'll say it's like The Sopranos."

Chase admitted he's more hung up on the 24-hour news cycle than the golden age of television he was partially responsible for ushering in. ("If you say so," Chase responded when interviewer Jeremy Egner described him as "one of the architects" of TV's renaissance.)

"I don't watch a lot of series television. Unfortunately what I do is spend my time watching CNN, Fox and MSNBC," Chase said. "So I get good and depressed, and angry."

But while Chase might not have strong opinions about Killing Eve or Game of Thrones, his news consumption has left him with a very good sense of where mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) would stand on the president. "He would think the guy was full of shit. Whether he thought he was a good president or not," Chase said. "I don't know that Tony thought much about that question at all, with anybody who was in office. But I know Tony would have thought Trump was penny ante, in terms of his lying and presentation."


Trump's name had come up on The Sopranos, even in the series finale. In the sixth and final season, Tony's son A.J. (Robert Iler) is struggling after a suicide attempt. In the finale, he decides it's time for a radical change: joining the Army and learning how to fly a helicopter. "My ultimate goal is to go work for Trump or somebody, be their personal pilot," A.J. says.

"He might be the new chief of staff," Chase said. "He'd be buddy-buddy with Stephen Miller, I know that."

The Sopranos, which premiered on January 10, 1999 on HBO, is widely considered one of the greatest TV series of all time. It was known for its filmic storytelling, psychological inventiveness (weird dream sequences played a big part) and powerhouse performances from Gandolfini and Edie Falco. Chase is currently working on a prequel movie to The Sopranos called The Many Saints of Newark.