Knowing a man’s choice of role models informs us of his character. The “Art of the Deal” co-author Tony Schwartz explained, to understand Trump, you have to understand he chose Roy Cohn as his mentor. Their well-documented relationship was described most recently in “Deal with the Devil” (Vanity Fair, August 2017).
Who’s Roy Cohn?
Cohn became Senator Joe McCarthy’s henchman on the 1950’s un-American Activities Committee. Cohn, a homosexual himself, died of AIDS-related complications in 1986, but used accusations of homosexuality to destroy others. His specialty was character assassination in a witch hunt for communists and homosexuals.
When Raymond Kaplan committed suicide after being falsely implicated of wrong-doing by the McCarthy-Cohn team, Cohn expressed no remorse. Attorney Victor Kovner summarized, “When you were in Cohn’s presence, you knew you were in the presence of pure evil.”
Indicted three times for wrong-doing, Cohn avoided conviction but was disbarred for “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation.”
Using Cohn’s model of character assassination and attacking his accusers Trump threatened to sue the women who accused him of sexual assault; he gave voice to the “birther” conspiracy, and he attacked Clinton over email and Russian connections.
Role models matter. Trump chose Cohn, and the GOP chose Trump. Is this really what we as Americans want?