I swear, I never cared much at all about politics until the Trump era. Maybe it’s one of the few good things that has come from Trump’s presidency. Regular citizens being complacent about politics is probably one of the main reasons Trump is occupying the White House right now. People are quick to trust con men, and Trump is at the top of the list of modern shysters who thirst incessantly for money and power.
Michael Cohen, a now disgraced former lawyer turned felon, was one of the people Trump fooled. He loved money and power and had made a fortune in New York City in real estate deals and selling taxi medallions, a type of transferable permit cabbies must have in order to operate legally. Cohen had read The Art of the Deal and admired Trump for his apparent business acumen and relentless pursuit of money and power.
Cohen admits his legal pedigree isn’t all that exciting. Like my husband, Bill, Cohen got his undergraduate degree at American University in Washington, DC, graduating a couple of years after Bill did. From there, he attended the Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University. Cohen writes that he went there because it was relatively easy to get accepted, and as long as he managed to pass the bar exam, it wouldn’t matter where he went to law school. He began his career as a personal injury attorney, but then climbed the ranks to more prestigious positions before he joined the Trump Organization in 2006.
Cohen’s role at the Trump Organization was to be Trump’s legal muscle/fixer. It was his job to help Trump cheat people out of money. For this job, Cohen was paid less than he was used to earning. When Trump initially hired Cohen, after giving him a good love bombing with ingratiating flattery, Trump told him he wouldn’t be paying him his usual rate. In fact, Trump never pays full price for anything, and according to Cohen, he does everything in his power to screw over anyone who works for him. But Cohen was initially okay with it, because Trump was his idol. And that kind of tells you what kind of person Cohen is… or was.
I’ll be honest. The first time I heard of Michael Cohen was when I saw him in a video, speaking to the court. He was upfront as he shamed a lawyer who was trying to discredit his account of his dealings with Trump. Cohen very forthrightly told the man that he was about to go to prison and that he was there to tell the truth. Something about the way he spoke impressed me. I don’t like hypocrites, and Cohen was not hypocritical as he spoke in that televised proceeding. And, in his book, Cohen freely admits that he’s as slimy as Trump. Or, at least he was as slimy. He now seems to be trying to redeem himself. I’m not stupid enough to believe that part of this effort isn’t about him trying to save his own skin. However, given the dire situation the country is in right now, and the fact that Trump and his flying monkeys have been trying so hard to silence Cohen, I have some respect for him. I think he was brave to publish his book, Disloyal, and that even though he was one of Trump’s legal flunkies, writing this book was a huge favor to the American people.
I’ve been aware of Trump since the late 1980s. People were talking about what a dishonest scumbag he is even back then. I never paid much attention to Trump until he ran for president. I watched with dismay and confusion as people championed him, saying he was “great” for America because he’s not a politician and isn’t politically correct. But the plain fact of the matter is, he lies, cheats, and steals, and he treats women like objects. More than once, Cohen writes about how Trump cornered women and forced them to kiss him, or got them into compromising positions, manhandled, and groped them. Why no one ever clocked Trump in the face before he became leader of the free world, I’ll never know.
Michael Cohen had a very close relationship with Donald Trump. Although Trump is now trying to discredit his former lawyer, saying he wasn’t a “very good lawyer”, he still kept him around for twelve years. And Cohen explains how Trump operates, giving readers insight into the kind of person Trump is. For instance, despite his famous turn on The Apprentice, where Trump is shown barking “You’re fired!” to contestants, Trump doesn’t actually like to fire people. He leaves that job to his many underlings, who are forced to do his dirty work.
And Trump is extremely cheap. Cohen writes one story about how he was tasked with strong arming the Benjamin Moore paint company into giving Trump thousands of buckets of expensive paint because the super cheap product Trump had ordered his contractor to use at the Doral golf resort was shitty and wiped off of the walls. Trump did not pay for the product he needed for the job to be done properly. But somehow, he managed to threaten and bully his way into having the company give him their best product for free. And he did this with a “pit bull” lawyer that he wasn’t even paying full price for.
Disloyal is full of stories like this– tales of how Trump cheated, and tasked his minions to cheat on his behalf. Then, when it came time for him to pay, either with money or favors, he inevitably welched. This was especially true if he didn’t get the results he wanted. For instance, Cohen writes about how he had tasked an information technology expert he knew at Liberty University to fudge the numbers in a poll run by CNBC. The work involved buying many IP addresses and faking the votes to make Trump look like a more impressive businessman. The work cost about $15,000 for the addresses, as well as the expert’s time and knowledge. But CNBC caught the ruse and removed Trump from the poll, despite Cohen’s threats to sue. And the end result was that the IT expert got stiffed.
Cohen’s wife, Laura, and children, Samantha and Jake, hated that Cohen worked for Trump. They regularly begged him to quit. Cohen had plenty of money and didn’t need to work for Trump. Trump would call him at all hours, interrupting them at dinner or on vacations. But worse than that, he was scuzzy to Cohen’s daughter, Samantha, when she was fifteen years old. Cohen writes that once, they were at a Trump resort. Trump was also there, and he saw Samantha taking a tennis lesson. Not knowing she was Cohen’s daughter, Trump mentioned wanting that “piece of ass”. When he became aware that Samantha was Cohen’s daughter, instead of apologizing, Trump told her he’d soon be dating her classmates. Just disgusting! And it’s certainly not the first or only time Trump has treated women like meat, as we all know. There are many references to his disgusting behavior toward women in the news. There’s even a recording of him admitting how he treats them. And yet, in 2016, white women came out in droves to vote for Trump.
Cohen is right that I probably wouldn’t like him very much. He’s a sleazy, money hungry lawyer who has been disgraced and disbarred, and is now doing time. But at least he owns up to being sleazy. And now he’s trying to carve out a niche for himself as one of Trump’s former minions, fighting against the orange turd’s reelection (which he warns will be very dramatic, as Trump won’t go quietly in 2021 or 2025). Well… I can’t blame him, to be honest. And if his book helps people change their minds about Donald Trump, I am all for his decision to publish it. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but I do think it’s valuable in that it offers a look at who Trump is by someone who knows him very well.
I think people should read Disloyal and decide whether or not Donald Trump really is the man who should be leading the United States… or if he should join Cohen behind bars. One thing is very certain to me. Trump does not care about anyone but himself. Just remember that in November.
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