Donald Trump’s brash and bullying style was learned at the heel of Roy Cohn, one of America’s most infamous lawyers.Cohn, who became Trump' lawyer, is given the credit for teaching Trump how to be a brash verbal bomb-thrower. I find that hard to believe (I think Trump was always going to be that kind of guy; it's just his nature). But that's not Nuzzi's point here. Her point is that Trump's close friend, mentor, and lawyer was one of twentieth-century America's greatest sleazebags. Trump's base is not going to respond to the story that way.
They met at Le Club, a private disco on the Upper East Side.... Donald Trump, the young developer, quickly amassing a fortune in New York real estate and Roy Cohn, America’s most loathed yet socially successful defense attorney who had vaulted to infamy in the 1950s while serving as legal counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
The friendship they forged would provide the foundation for Trump's eventual presidential campaign....
McCarthy and Cohn, who was gay and would later die of AIDS, claimed that foreign communists had blackmailed closeted homosexual U.S. government employees into giving them secrets. The charge resulted in President Eisenhower’s executive order 10450, which allowed the government to deny homosexuals employment.
Cohn helped McCarthy wage similar witch-hunts on the State Department, Voice of America, and the Army.
When McCarthy was finally censured, in 1954, Cohn was thought to be finished, too.
...But instead of fading into obscurity, Cohn became a socialite with a roster of high-powered, famous, pious, and allegedly murderous clients.
He represented Andy Warhol, Studio 54, Roman Catholic Cardinals Francis Spellman and Terence Cooke, and mafia leaders Carmine “Cigar” Galante and Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno.
Cohn’s tactics were thought to be so unethical and dishonest by the legal establishment (he was eventually disbarred) that Esquire dubbed him “a legal executioner.”
Cohn went after the commies? And was nearly destroyed for it? Excellent! the wingers will say. He worked for Joe McCarthy? Those folks love Joe McCarthy -- a decade ago they bought many, many copies of Ann Coulter's pro-McCarthy book Treason. And it's not just Coulter -- Google "joe mccarthy freerepublic.com" and you get results such as "Joe McCarthy Was Right All Along"; "It's Time to See Joe McCarthy for the Hero He Was"; "Joe McCarthy Vindicated, Again"; and "Joseph McCarthy -- American Patriot." They love the guy.
Yeah, Cohn was gay. But he was anti-gay gay! That's a mitigating factor. And here's what's most important: As Nuzzi writes, he loved Ronald Reagan:
Cohn, a registered Democrat, was a Reaganphile. On the grand piano in his law office rested a framed photo of the former president and a letter of thanks he sent to Cohn. He and his law partner, Thomas Bolan, who could not be reached for comment, fundraised tirelessly for his 1980 campaign.If Cohn was the person who first introduced Trump to the True Faith, it doesn't matter who his sexual partners were -- he's forgiven!
According to Trump’s friend, Cohn acted to “recruit Donald and Donald’s father for Reagan’s finance committee.” In an 1983 [New York] Times report, Trump was characterized as a Reagan supporter and was said to have visited the White House “several times.” There’s a picture of the two together, shaking hands. Trump, his hair darker and fuller, in a pinstripe suit and shiny, light pink tie; and Reagan, looking duller by comparison.
In 1973, at Cohn’s urging, Trump sued the federal government for $100 million in damages, after the government sued the Trump Management Corp. for allegedly discriminating against blacks in its leasing of 16,000 apartment units throughout New York.Trump, under Cohn's influence, said the federal government attacked him for his success. And sued because the feds said he was discriminating against Those People? Wingers will wish Trump could pick Cohn's corpse as his running mate.
Trump accused the government of making “irresponsible and baseless” charges. “I have never, nor has anyone in our organization ever, to the best of my knowledge, discriminated or shown bias in renting our apartments,” Trump said at a press conference, held at the New York Hilton Hotel, according to a Dec. 13, 1973 New York Times report. Trump said, in true Trump fashion, that the government had singled out his business because it was big....
The judge dismissed Trump and Cohn’s suit, saying they were “wasting time and paper.”
No, this won't hurt Trump. To the true believers, this is a puff piece.