Sunday, June 19, 2016

". . . attack, counterattack and never apologize."

The title comes from a Washington Post article describing Roy Cohn as Trump's lawyer and mentor.  For those who don't recognize the name, Cohn was the model for the Angels in America character who personifies evil.  The son of an influential judge, Cohn began young as Sen. Joe McCarthy's aide in the Congressional Red and homosexual witch hunt in the 1950s.  His career goes morally downhill from there, according to the article.

The point of the authors, though, is that he took in Trump and introduced him to the power brokers of New York and Washington DC and taught Trump his basic strategy: attack, counterattack and never apologize.

What we've seen from his tweet torrent, this does seem to be how Trump work.  He certainly hates to apologize.

It's worth reading the whole thing as we try to understand the phenomenon of Trump.

And it seems Cohn's story shares the Orlando shooter's closeted homosexuality.  Well, we don't know if the shooter had any actual gay encounters, but he seems to have been drawn to gay venues.  Cohn apparently was much more active sexually, but he witnessed (even participated in) the career and sometimes life destroying outing of homosexuals with Sen. McCarthy.

One wonders whether the shooter's rampage and Cohn's ruthless pursuit of power were both related to some sort of homophobic self-loathing. And fear of being outed. The article mentions Cohn's portrayal in Angels in America, and when I googled the two together, I got to a series of compelling Youtube excerpts.

Like this one where Cohn's long time doctor tells him he has AIDS and Cohn insists he's not a homosexual and he has liver cancer.  He's more concerned about being exposed as gay (and thus as a member of a group without 'clout') than he is about the terminal diagnosis.  I can't embed the video, but here's the link.

And the Washington Post article is also worth reading.  The authors' book on Trump comes out in August.  Good timing on their part.

[UPDATE July 21, 2016:  here's a follow up post on Cohn I did on June 24 -  "Roy Cohn was one of the most loathsome characters in American history, so why did he have so many influential friends?"]


  1. Kind of similar to Gay Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson?

    1. Last week, I read this interesting article about the relationships between Joe McCarthy to Cohn and then Cohn to Trump. It's like there is a pipeline of pure hate and absolute evil directly from McCarthy to Trump. And after all the legal, personal, and dirty work that Cohn performed so willingly for Trump over the years, Trump shunned him immediately upon finding out about Cohn's AIDS.

    2. Elsie, your comment wasn't up yet when I replied to Anon. The politico article was also interesting. It seems there is no shortage of pieces on Cohn. One of the more interesting ones I found was written by a younger cousin.

  2. New York Times also had an article this morning on Trump and Cohn. This article says that while Trump did shift his legal business to others after Cohn got sick with AIDS, he didn't shun him, and in fact testified for him at Cohn's disbarment hearings and invited him to various dinners.

    Fascinating info!!


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