book reviews, narcissists, politicians, politics, Trump

A review of Michael Cohen’s Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the US Department of Justice Against His Critics

A couple of years ago, I discovered the very “New York” lawyer, Michael Cohen, who had served as Donald Trump’s “fixer” in the years before he regrettably became our 45th POTUS (though to me, Trump will always be more of a SHPOS). I read and reviewed Cohen’s book, Disloyal:  A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump. I remember liking Disloyal, as Cohen had a very conversational tone that pretty much spelled out what a shitty person Trump is, and why he was a terrible president. Cohen pretty much confirmed my suspicions that Trump is a malignant narcissist, and that makes him an inherently poor choice as a world leader.

Cohen on his book.

Cohen, who was once a very successful attorney with a beautiful wife, two gorgeous children, and a thriving career, went to prison for Donald Trump. I remember hearing him interviewed before he was locked up, and I liked what he said. He admits to being a bit of a shyster. In Disloyal, he even admitted to admiring Trump and wanting to be like him. He made the mistake of thinking that Trump might someday see him as an equal. Of course, because Trump is a grandiose narcissist, he doesn’t see anyone as his equal. People respond to his charm, and his ability to say the things that will spin up a crowd. But it’s all bullshit. Cohen didn’t find this out until it was too late. He paid dearly for working for Trump. I was grateful to him for sharing his story two years ago, even though I knew he did it, mostly, for self-serving purposes.

Lately, I’ve seen Michael Cohen making the rounds on YouTube. I’ll admit, he can be entertaining to listen to. He uses a lot of profanity, which I kind of enjoy… on some level. He has a thick New York accent, which somehow charms me these days. I used to like southern accents, because I am a southerner. Sadly, I no longer feel the same affection for the South, as I’ve seen Republican governments strip women of their rights to bodily autonomy, and I’ve watched salt of the earth people buying into Republican bullshit. It was as if living in Europe cleansed me of most of my appreciation for my home… even if I still love a good bowl of grits.

So anyway, this morning I finished Michael Cohen’s latest book, Revenge, which was just published October 11, 2022. I purchased the book five days after its release, so I was clearly eager to read it. And now that I’ve read it, I feel somewhat less satisfied than I did after I read Cohen’s first book. Revenge is informative, and Cohen is every bit as blustery as he was in Disloyal. But Revenge isn’t about what it was like to work for Trump. Instead, it’s more of a warning to people… as well as a good long vent about Trump’s misdeeds. It’s not that I don’t find venting entertaining sometimes. It’s just that sometimes, Cohen seemed just a little bit whiny in this book. Sure, I agree that he has every right to complain… to some extent. He paid a dear price for being loyal to Trump. However, he seems to think he has some deep insight into Trump’s character, or lack thereof. He doesn’t, really.

In 2016, when the news broke about Trump’s comments regarding women– how he kisses them whether they want him to or not, and grabs them by the pussy– I knew then exactly what Trump is. I knew then that he was not suited to lead the country. I am just a simple overeducated housewife, but it was plain as day to me that Trump is a toxic, abusive, autocratic wannabe. How is it, then, that people who are supposedly smarter and more successful than I am had to learn the hard way? Is it because they suffer a bit from narcissism themselves? In Cohen’s case, I think so… but Cohen isn’t in Trump’s league of narcissism. Thankfully, not that many people are.

I do like to listen to Cohen in small doses. He’s fun to listen to, because he comes across as personable and plain talking. However, I realize that if he hadn’t gone to prison, he’d probably still be loyal to Trump. It’s the same as the Republicans who are now turning on Trump. If he’d turned out to be the “kingmaker” he purported to be before the recent midterm elections, I know that people wouldn’t be turning on him now (and thank God they are doing that, regardless of the reason). If his candidates had won big in the 2022 elections, he wouldn’t be about to go down in flames. But that didn’t happen, so people are turning on him. Cohen, I’m afraid, seems to be in that group. He does what will ultimately serve him, and his best interests. Of course, that’s what most people do, when it comes down to it. I guess it just seems disingenuous to me that he’s now trying to come off as someone who is totally decent. I felt like in Disloyal, he was a bit more honest and genuine. In Revenge, he just seems angry, self-pitying, and hurt, and as rightful as I think he is to feel that way, it doesn’t make for the most appealing or engaging reading.

I do applaud Michael Cohen for turning lemons into lemonade. He’s turned his legal career loss into a new career. Now, he writes books, speaks on YouTube and late night TV, and offers his opinions on Trump and his cronies. I think it’s commendable that he’s picked himself up and recovered. If this shit with Trump hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t know who he is. So he did get something from his ordeal, as humiliating and awful as it was. But he got it because he reached for it, and not everyone would have been capable of doing that. The fact that, like Trump, he has a bit of a narcissistic streak, he was able to mostly shake off the ordeal. Except it’s obvious to me that he’s still kind of outraged and very offended. I’m still wondering how it is that someone as smart and successful as Cohen is didn’t see what, to me, has been very obvious for many years. And, I think that Cohen would be singing a very different tune if he hadn’t been one of the people Trump has fucked over so forcefully. But that’s just my opinion, of course. I could be wrong.

Anyway, I liked Disloyal better than Revenge. It just seemed like a better written, more honest look at what happened. Cohen freely admitted some of his own responsibility in that book, which tells me he isn’t a malignant or grandiose narcissist. In Revenge, he just seems to be looking for…. exactly that. Revenge. I would have liked to have seen a little more personal accountability from Cohen, and less ranting and raving. And, a lot of what is in this book can be found in many of the most recent YouTube videos Cohen is showing up on these days. To Cohen’s credit, though, amid the vitriol, he does offer some recommendations and potential solutions, which makes his book worth reading if you’re interested. Personally, I much preferred his first title, though.

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