Welcome to the third part in a multi-part series focused on Donald Trump truths. This series will provide all the answers as to why Donald Trump is a horrible choice for President of the United States. This time we examine Donald Trump’s mentor; one of the most loathsome characters in American history; the infamous Roy Cohn. Welcome to The Johno Show
Roy Cohn was born in the Bronx in 1927. He graduated from Columbia Law School at the age of 20 and had to wait until his 21st birthday to be admitted to the law bar, which on that day and using his family’s influence, he obtained a position with the United States Attorney’s Office and started his career as a federal prosecutor.
But it was his performance at the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg where Roy Cohn first gained recognition as his direct examination of Ethel’s brother produced testimony that was central to the Rosenbergs’ conviction and execution.
The Rosenberg trial brought the 24-year-old Cohn to the attention of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who recommended him to Joseph McCarthy just as McCarthy was gearing up for his crusade against Communism.
Despite the fact Roy Cohn himself was a homosexual; he convinced President Eisenhower to sign an executive order banning homosexuals from obtaining jobs in the federal government because of Cohn’s perceived threats to national security resulting in the firing of numerous gay men from government employment.
After the fall of Joe McCarthy, Roy Cohn packed up his bags and headed back to New York City where he set up shop as the attorney to the rich and powerful. His client included Mafia figures, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and of course none other than Donald Trump himself.
The two met by accident one night in 1973 at Le Club, a hangout for Manhattan’s rich and famous. Trump and his father had just been sued for allegedly discriminating against black people and Donald asked Cohn’s advice to which he replied “tell them to go to hell”. As Trump’s new lawyer Roy filed a $100 million dollar countersuit that was immediately dismissed by the court. But made headlines in the newspapers.
Donald used Cohn for all aspects of personal and business legal issues. Roy drew up the incredibly stingy pre-nuptial contract between Donald and Ivana giving her only $20,000 a year and the requirement that she return everything — cars, furs, rings — that Trump gave her during their marriage.
Cohn helped deliver some of Trump’s signature construction deals. He helped Donald sue the National Football League for conspiring against him. He used his connections to help Trump secure zoning variances and tax abatement critical to the construction of the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the Trump Plaza and even lobbied his friends in the Reagan White House to nominate Trump’s sister to the federal bench.
But Roy’s influence on Donald didn’t stop at legal issues. He taught Donald to turn the tabloids into a soapbox and showed him how to pose as his own spokesman, passing self-serving tidbits to gossip columnists and how any publicity even negative was still publicity. And that was Roy Cohn’s biggest lesson for his apprentice Donald Trump. His favorite quote was “If you say it aggressively and loudly enough, it’s the truth.”
Roy Cohn, the man known as Donald Trump’s mentor and constant sidekick; the master of ceremonies at Trump parties was a man who represented all five of the organized crime families in New York City, sent the Rosenberg’s to the death chamber, ruined the lives of many gay men working for the government, never paid taxes, and pretended to have no income. He finally met his end on August 2, 1986, in Bethesda, Maryland, of complications from AIDS at the age of 59.
Although, not before he was disbarred for flagrant ethical violations and unprofessional conduct, including misappropriation of clients’ funds, lying on a bar application, and pressuring a client to amend his will.
As for Roy Cohn, well he’s been immortalized in the great Tony Kushner AIDS play Angels in America, which I highly recommend everyone watch. If not in the theater than the HBO movie version starring Al Pacino as Roy Cohn.