Roy Cohn and Donald Trump.


The Advocate has a disturbing article about the relationship between Trump and Roy Cohn. That should scare people silly, whether you’re already scared or not. If you don’t know who Roy Cohn was, do some reading.

In this election cycle, as many wonder how Donald Trump came to be Donald Trump, at least part of the answer lies in one of his early mentors and close confidantes: the widely reviled, closeted gay hatchet man of the right wing, Roy Cohn.


Dinner companions and party buddies, Trump and Cohn were infamous partners in crime in the New York of the 1970s and ’80s. Cohn, “a Jewish anti-Semite and a homosexual homophobe” (in the words of Politico), was also a trusted legal adviser to Trump and his father, Fred, for many years. Donald Trump still speaks warmly of Cohn today.

“I actually got a kick out of him,” Trump told The Washington Post recently. “Some people didn’t like him, and some people were offended by him. I mean, they would literally leave a dinner. I had one evening where three or four people got up from a table and left the table because they couldn’t stand the mention of his name.”

“But with all of that being said, he did a very good job for me as a lawyer,” Trump continued. “I get a kick out of winning, and Roy would win.”


But Trump is already revealing his debt to Cohn. The candidate’s call to bar Muslims from immigrating to the United States until their loyalties can be determined has eerie echoes of the most notorious era of Cohn’s career — the 1950s, when as a prosecutor he helped send Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to the electric chair after their conviction for espionage (some observers still contend that Ethel, at least, was innocent), and then aided U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s hunt for communists in the U.S. government, Hollywood, academia, and elsewhere.

“In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test” for immigrants, Trump said in a foreign policy speech in Ohio Monday. “The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today.”


Additionally, Trump’s depiction of all Muslims as potential terrorists is reminiscent of McCarthyism — he even wants to appoint a special commission to root out what he calls “radical Islam.” McCarthy and Cohn accused many people who were simply left-wing of being communists, and assumed all communists were involved in subversive activity. Some of their targets had never joined the U.S. Communist Party, some had repudiated it, and at any rate, not all party members wished to help the Soviet Union bring down the U.S. government. Nevertheless, many of the accused saw their careers destroyed.


But according to many accounts, Trump was one of Cohn’s favorite clients. They met in 1973, when Trump and his father were facing a suit from the U.S. Department of Justice, alleging that they refused to rent apartments to blacks at the many New York properties they owned or managed. Cohn advised the Trumps to fight back and contended the Justice Department “did not file a lawsuit” but “slapped together a piece of paper for use as a press release.” The Trumps eventually reached a settlement with the DOJ, agreeing not to engage in racial discrimination but never admitting they had.


Perhaps most important for Trump’s political career, Cohn introduced him to Republican activist and conspiracy theorist Roger Stone. Stone is a frequent Trump surrogate on the campaign trail, and over the years he has made statements even more outlandish than Trump’s — accusing the Clinton and Bush families of multiple murders, and using racist and sexist slurs most publications would not print, such as the n word and the c word.

But Cohn himself made a deep impression on Trump. “I just look at him and see Roy,” veteran political journalist Wayne Barrett told the Post of Trump. “Both of them are attack dogs.”

“Cohn just pushed through things — if he wanted something, he got it,” Susan Bell, who was Cohn’s secretary for many years, told Politico. “I think Donald had a lot of that in him, but he picked up a lot of that from Cohn.”

Full Story at The Advocate. I had no idea, and now that I know, I feel so sick.


  1. says

    Short of a bootlegger, I can’t think of where you’d expect to find a more corrupt character than a 70’s NYC real estate manipulator. You can pretty much figure that, under the dirt, there’s more dirt. It’s probably dirt all the way down.

  2. DonDueed says

    Sure, Marcus, until you get to the turtles.

    I’d heard about this Trump-Cohn connection but didn’t realize how deep it ran. Like, turtle-deep.

  3. says


    I’d heard about this Trump-Cohn connection but didn’t realize how deep it ran.

    I had *no* idea whatsoever, and was flattened by this. In the ‘seriously vile person’ stakes, it would be hard to beat Roy Cohn, and now we have Cohn jr. running for prez.

  4. blf says

    Teh trum-prat’s father, Fred, was a john bircher and probably a KlansKooK, suggesting teh trum-prat has been exposed to, or throughly soaked in, extreme bigotry since a young age.

    In addition, teh trum-prat seems to have an exclusively rent-seeking worldview; that is, he acts as-if he views economies and relationships as a vector for extracting money (What Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand About ‘the Deal’ (March-2016)):

    He is not just a rent-seeker himself; his whole worldview is based on a rent-seeking vision of the economy, in which there’s a fixed amount of wealth that can only be redistributed, never grow. It is a worldview that makes perfect sense for the son of a New York real estate tycoon who grew up to be one, too. Everything he has gotten — as he proudly brags — came from cutting deals. Accepting the notion of a zero-sum world, he set out to grab more than his share. And his policies would push the American economy to conform with that worldview.

    I find this probable zero-sum worldview as, and perhaps more, alarming: It is world-destroying, and NOT in any usefully constructive sense.

  5. Ice Swimmer says

    I think the zero-sum worldview, rent-seeking and bigotry are reinforcing each other. “Less for others, more for us, most for me.”

Leave a Reply