And the hits just keep on coming.
The Trump presidency may very well produce more scathing tell-all books than any other administration in history. How many of them are accurate may never be fully known. That being said, if even a fraction of truth exists in them, then this noble experiment of self-governance has failed. It has buckled and succumbed under the weight of ignorance and through the moral erosion that has slowly eaten away at our foundation for decades.
Donald Trump is not the problem. The problem exists with those who would so willingly support this corrupt and wretched conman. They have proven that no matter what he does, or what those in a position to know him say, unless it appeals to their Trump-as-messiah image, they will not believe.
With that in mind, the latest tell-all comes from Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney and “fixer” for Donald Trump.
Cohen worked for over a decade for Donald Trump, and proved himself on many occasions to be the rabid guard dog of all Trump’s secrets. He once said he’d take a bullet for Mr. Trump, and presented himself as the perfect mob lawyer-weasel. In fact, his persona was almost a caricature of the Hollywood movie type.
He played that role, right up to 2018. He was found guilty of lying to Congress, tax evasion, and campaign finance violations, all in service to the president. He was then sentenced to three years in prison. He was recently released, due to the Covid-19 threat.
He was briefly locked back up for violating an agreement with Trump’s Department of Justice. Apparently, Trump’s new fixer, Attorney General William Barr, felt him to be in violation of his release agreement. A federal judge, however, found that the DOJ agreement that was written up for Cohen, prohibiting him from writing about his experiences in Trump’s employ, was a blatant violation of Cohen’s First Amendment rights. He ordered that Cohen be released, and he was.
So now it’s here. The latest tell-all from someone who was there, who knows Trump, and as Cohen has described himself, “knows where the bodies are buried.”
While Michael Cohen may not have the cleanest hands, he very well could be the one person who could damage Donald Trump the most. He’s sort of an anti-hero. He’s not noble or brave. He’s done Trump’s bidding, whether it was arranging the payoff and cover-up of Trump’s porn star mistresses, or stepping in to retrieve “inappropriate” images of the wife of [now former] Liberty University president, Jerry Falwell, Jr. The latter ensured Falwell would become a vocal and rabid advocate for the president and his agenda.
No, in the case of Michael Cohen, we don’t have a superhero, but we have a discarded and scorned henchman, with no more allegiance to the Trump crime family.
And the rat has turned.
Cohen’s new book is called, “Disloyal: A Memoir.” This longtime, trusted insider is pulling back the political mask and giving the world a look at the manipulative, fraudulent machinations of Trump.
As an insider who spent years as Trump’s personal attorney and self-proclaimed “fixer,” Cohen says he is uniquely equipped to unleash on Trump, whom Cohen describes as “a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man” and a person interested in using the presidency exclusively for his personal financial benefit.
While that is missed by too many, quite a few of us figured that out early on.
A recent article, while acknowledging Cohen’s role in the Trump circle, is quick to point out that the now disbarred attorney isn’t exactly a paragon of virtue and truth, himself. This is true, but had he been so, he never would have been employed by Trump. He was the kind of shifty, amoral toady that a would-be mob boss wants around.
In the book, Cohen admits his complicity in the rise of Trump. He apologizes, and that’s a good thing. Whether he is sincere or not remains to be seen.
Still, there is a lot worth exploring in the book.
Some of it is not surprising at all, to anyone who has paid attention.
Trump’s model of a man in power, according to Cohen, is Vladimir Putin, and Trump is described as enamored of Putin’s wealth and unilateral influence, and awestruck by what he sees as the Russian president’s ability to control everything from the country’s press to its financial institutions.
“Locking up your political enemies, criminalizing dissent, terrifying or bankrupting the free press through libel lawsuits — Trump’s all-encompassing vision wasn’t evident to me before he began to run for president,” Cohen writes. “I honestly believe the most extreme ideas about power and its uses only really took shape as he began to seriously contemplate the implications of taking power and how he could leverage it to the absolute maximum level possible.”
Trump loves Putin. Or maybe Trump is owned by Putin? He certainly gives Russia a lot of leeway and support.
Anybody wondering when we’ll hear Trump speak on the report of Russia putting bounties on the heads of American troops?
Cohen further states, however, that he doesn’t believe Trump’s 2016 campaign conspired with Russia, given that they were so disorganized, they could not have coordinated any coherent plan. Rather, he goes on to explain, it was the shared interest of harming Hillary Clinton that Trump’s campaign and Russia had in common.
He also argues that, with Trump himself expecting to lose the presidential race, Trump’s goal in cozying up to Putin was to position himself to benefit financially from a planned real-estate development in Moscow after the election.
“By ingratiating himself with Putin, and hinting at changes in American sanctions policy against the country under a Trump Presidency,” Cohen writes, “the Boss was trying to nudge the Moscow Trump Tower project along.” (One of the crimes to which Cohen pleaded guilty was lying to Congress about the duration of the negotiations regarding the Moscow development.)
This much we saw in 2016, when the GOP changed the Republican platform to soften the language towards Russia, at a time when the whole world was condemning their aggressive acts towards Crimea.
This election season, Republicans have sloughed off any outward skin of being a legitimate political party, opting to pare down their platform to reflect fealty to all things Trump, and Trump alone.
Cohen also portrays Trump as aspiring to have ties to the Russian president. After Trump sold a Palm Beach mansion he purchased for $41 million to a Russian oligarch named Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million in 2008, Cohen says, Trump told Cohen he believed the real buyer was Putin.
So what else does Michael Cohen reveal?
Is Trump the racist that so many have accused him of being?
In the wake of Trump’s presidential kickoff announcement in 2015, in which he called Mexicans criminals and rapists, he dismissed concerns that he had alienated Latinos. “Plus, I will never get the Hispanic vote,” Trump allegedly told Cohen. “Like the blacks, they’re too stupid to vote for Trump. They’re not my people.” (Trump won 28% of the Latino vote in 2016.)
Trump’s contempt, in Cohen’s telling, extends broadly. Cohen characterizes Trump bluntly as racist, and says that while he never heard Trump use the “N-word,” Trump used other offensive language.
Ranting about Obama after he won office in 2008, Trump said, “Tell me one country run by a black person that isn’t a sh*thole…They are all complete f*cking toilets,” according to Cohen. After Nelson Mandela died, Trump allegedly said of South Africa that “Mandela f*cked the whole country up. Now it’s a sh*thole. F*ck Mandela. He was no leader.”
Speaking of Obama, if Cohen is to be believed, Trump’s mental state is so pathological, that he hired an actor to portray the former president, and sit across from him, as he berated and “fired” him, on camera.
The book actually features an image of Trump at his desk, while a black gentleman with an American flag pin on his lapel sits across from him.
Was this the “Faux-bama” incident?
Cohen suggests it is.
I’ve long railed against the evangelical crowd for their slavish devotion to this vile, unrepentant man. Their open ardor yokes them to someone who has no relationship to the God they claim to serve. It harms not just their individual reputations, but the reputation of the Christian church, which is called to be a beacon in the darkness, drawing the lost to salvation through Christ.
Biblically, we’re to pray for men like Donald Trump, but if they do not repent of their sins, we knock the dust off our feet and let God handle them.
If they claim to be brothers in the Way, yet, continue in their ungodliness, we’re to reject them.
The Apostle Paul wrote, in 1 Corinthians 5:11, “I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.” (NLT)
In verses 12-13, he goes on to say, “It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (NLT)
A lot of people, both Christians and the world, get the whole “judging” thing wrong. They like to say, “Only God can judge me!” And He will, so you should probably be worried.
That being said, Christians are called to have discernment about who they allow in their circle, and who they allow to color the world’s perception of them.
Are we reflecting Christ, or do they look at the Church and see somebody else?
If they look at your walk and see Trump, then you have failed.
Cohen has some insight on Trump’s relationship with evangelicals, as well.
If Putin is held in the highest regard in Trump’s mind, Cohen writes, Trump’s own voters rank among those in the lowest. Speaking to Cohen after Trump gathered religious leaders at Trump Tower in the lead up to the 2016 presidential race, an encounter during which they asked to “lay hands” on him, Trump asked Cohen, according to the book: “Can you believe that bullsh*t?…Can you believe people believe that bullsh*t?”
Am I the only one who sees Trump’s courting of evangelicals for what it is?
I know I’m not, and I likewise know that those who support him now will never believe Cohen’s account. It’s a sickness in the church, where discernment has suffered. They are nothing more than stepping stones for his ambitions, and they have allowed their association with him to drag down the reputation of Christianity.
Even now, Trump is promising to end abortion, if given four more years. The reality is, abortion was super-funded and enjoyed a bumper season for the first Trump term, even when Republicans held the majority.
Why is it that the promises get more flagrant and grand when a second term is at stake?
After four years of Trump, anyone willing to put partisanship aside and be truthful should be willing to call out his lies, and his utter failure at his job.
And no, I’m not a blue waver. I’m not a supporter of Biden/Harris, or the Democrat agenda. I simply will not bend to either corrupt party. As I see it, both will ruin us, but through different avenues.
Cohen makes a good point in his book, as far as placing blame for this nightmare we’ve been living since January 2017.
“Donald Trump’s presidency is a product of the free press,” he writes. “Not free as in freedom of expression, I mean free as unpaid for. Rallies broadcast live, tweets, press conferences, idiotic interviews, 24-7 wall-to-wall coverage, all without spending a penny. The free press gave America Trump.”
“Right, left, moderate, tabloid, broadsheet, television, radio, Internet, Facebook — that is who elected Trump and might well elect him again.”
Indeed. Had the media refused to cover Trump, as if he were a serious candidate, we may have well been spared this ruin. In journalism, however, if it bleeds, it leads, and Donald Trump was a train wreck they couldn’t ignore. He was (and still is) a Saturday Night Live skit that grew out of control.
Can Michael Cohen redeem himself with this book?
I guess it depends on who you talk to.