National Commentary

Trump, Roy Cohn & Worse

nfbenton-mug(Anybody remember that Karl Rove set up a private e-mail account in the George W. Bush White House under the domain name “gwb43.com,” from which he purged 22 million e-mails in 2007 at the height of the Valerie Plame scandal? Jon Ponder tells the story in the online Pensito Review.)

By all measures, Donald Trump is one of the most corrupt business figures ever, by his own self-obsession a veritably storied one, who brings one thing only: the personality and demeanor of a galling bully.

This he is good at, having as the New York Times’ Jonathan Mahler and Matt Flegenheimer wrote last month, learned at the knee of New York shyster lawyer Roy Cohn, one of his closest collaborators until Cohn died of AIDS in 1986.

Cohn, chased by authorities for years for conspiracy, bribery, fraud and income tax evasion, was eventually disbarred for “unethical, unprofessional and particularly reprehensible conduct.” He was a major player in Trump’s rise as a real estate mogul, as documented in Nicholas Von Hoffman’s Citizen Cohn: the Life and Times of Roy Cohn, Harry Hurt III’s Lost Tycoon: the Many Lives of Donald J. Trump and other sources.

Perhaps the best representation of Cohn was in Academy Award winning playwright Tony Kushner’s incredible Broadway play (and HBO mini-series classic), “Angels in America,” with Al Pacino so brilliantly playing Cohn as a central figure. Trump seemingly stands just offstage in so much of this play.

You see in Cohn where Trump came from and is now. Peter Fraser, Cohn’s companion for his last two years who spent much time with Trump, said for the Mahler-Flegenheimer article, “I hear Roy in the things he (Trump) says quite clearly. That bravado, and if you say it aggressively and loudly enough, it’s the truth — that’s the way Roy used to operate to a degree, and Donald was certainly his apprentice.”

In the Von Hoffman book, Cohn friend Liz Smith said of Cohn, “He was absolutely great where it was a matter that he could call somebody he knew and say, ‘I’m going to kick your ass from here to the Brooklyn Bridge if you don’t get this quashed,’ or whatever, but when it came to actually having to file papers and do things, I have begun to wonder if he really – he just didn’t want to bother…He was a wonderful intimidator and bluffer and bullshit artist. I don’t think, in a way, that he could write a paper or draft anything.” That’s Trump to a tee.

In Hurt’s Lost Tycoon, a best seller in 1993 but now out of print (which, curiously, the publisher, W.W. Norton, has recently said it isn’t interested in reviving), a caveat was printed onto the first page as agreed to with Trump’s lawyers, a statement from Trump’s first wife Ivana that qualified her testimony in a deposition in the divorce case where she stated Trump “had raped me.”

There was one occasion in 1989, she explained, when she “felt violated,” adding the following:

“I referred to this as ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

Now, the mainstream media is looking the other way in another case where the word “rape” is associated with Trump. A lengthy article published last week on the Huffington Post by Lisa Bloom, an NBC News legal analyst, entitled, “Why the New Child Rape Case Filed Against Donald Trump Should Not be Ignored,” has been, well, ignored.

It accuses Trump of raping the plaintiff when she was 13.

Bloom wrote, as a journalist to journalists, “No outsider can say whether Mr. Trump is innocent or guilty of these new rape charges.

“But we can look at his record, analyze the court filings here, and make a determination as to credibility – whether the allegations are believable enough for us to take them seriously and investigate them, keeping in mind his denial and reporting new facts as they develop. I have done that. And the answer is a clear ‘yes.’ These allegations are credible. They ought not be ignored. Mainstream media, I’m looking at you.”