Reflecting On Roy Cohn's Impact, Can Trump Survive Without A Lawyer To Lean On?

Reflecting On Roy Cohn's Impact, Can Trump Survive Without A Lawyer To Lean On?

The influence Cohn had on an impressionable Trump was profound.
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Before I began conducting research for an upcoming presentation, I (nor, notably, anyone I asked who had lived through the era) had never heard of The Lavender Scare. An offshoot of the infamous Red Scare, the Lavender Scare was a witch-hunt conducted to rid the government and military of any confirmed or suspected homosexual individuals. The basis for this decision was rooted in American prejudice and exacerbated by Joe McCarthy and, more notably, Roy Cohn. Throughout my readings, Cohn has stuck out as a walking contradiction, for, despite persecuting and enhancing bias towards homosexual civil servants, Cohn himself was gay (or, according to Roger Stone, “not gay… He was a man who liked having sex with men").

One of the most iconic images from the McCarthy-Army anti-communist hearings that took place during the Red Scare.

Cohn is an interesting historical figure to look at for a variety of reasons, but in the wake of recent political developments, his relationship with President Donald Trump has become a prevalent and necessary discussion. Described frequently and accurately as a “pit -bull lawyer” in reference to his work ethic, Cohn is remembered for his scorched earth legal tactics and the aggression he showed when met with opposition. Cohn served as Trump’s personal attorney back when he was first trying to get his bearings as a real-estate developer throughout the 70’s and into the 80’s.

Cohn and Trump in 1983. They met a decade earlier in 1973 and Trump immediately glorified his lawyer, mentor, and friend.

Trump became fixated on his "personal lawyer and fixer," calling him 15 to 20 times a day and adopting many of the mannerisms we see in him today: as Nathan Lane, who plays Cohn in the West End and Broadway revamps of “Angels in America,” states: “what [Trump] learned from Roy Cohn is… you know, it’s always 'go on the attack, the counter-attack'. Hit the accuser ten times harder, and deflect, and never admit defeat, and certainly- and there’s out-and-out lying when all else fails.” The influence Cohn had on an impressionable Trump was profound, and he served for over 10 years as something of a domineering yet incredibly protective father figure mixed with a stereotypical pageant mother. Despite the well-documented relationship, however, Trump has not only denied Cohn’s role as a mentor following his death in 1986, but began to distance himself from Cohn when he was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1984.

Cohn four months before his death from AIDS-related complications in 1984.

The odd and dramatic shift from near co-dependence to absolute isolation is only made more complex by Trump recent exclamation, “Where’s my Roy Cohn?”, following the news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia investigation. However, Trump’s commentary and reactions in light of the scandal that has unfolded within the past two weeks regarding his attorney Michael Cohen and how he has conducted legal affairs for Trump might offer up an explanation as for why Trump now desperately longs for Cohn again.

After comparing this image with the one above (alternatively: pre- and post-AIDS), it is easy to see the physical decline Cohn experienced which Trump probably likened to a decrease in aggression and brutality.

As I mentioned, Cohn knew he was dying beginning around 1984 and, while he participated in trials for the anti-HIV drug AZT, he grew increasingly sicker. Despite swearing to everyone that he was dying of liver cancer, “Cohn believed Trump had cut him off because he was HIV-positive” (Washington Post). (For the sake of the argument, I’ve decided to bar the idea that Trump may have cut out Cohn after discovering his disease was AIDS-related and Cohn’s sexual orientation as there is evidence Trump knew and did not care that Cohn was gay.) Cohn’s diagnosis must have appeared to Trump as though his bully of a lawyer was thereby compromised or weakened by disease. Trump, like Cohn, needs aggressive dominance to feel like they were in control.

Oddly, or maybe unsurprisingly to some, the Google search phrase "Trump with Michael Cohen" only yields two pictures with the men actually seen together, this being one of them.

Similarly, Trump has referred to Michael Cohen as his attorney as well as his pit bull (exactly the terms Trump previously used to refer to Cohn). Over the course of the past week, Trump has gone from calling Cohen his attorney to just one of his many attorneys. The shift, prompted by the FBI raids of Cohen’s law office, home, and hotel room, is due to how the president no longer sees Cohen as possessing the strength and prowess he once held.

Trump and Cohn in 1984.

While both Cohn and Cohen are controversial figures, both in their legal actions and personal ethics, the treatment of both of his “pit-bull” lawyers after they stopped serving him as such shows an incredible amount about Trump’s psyche: rather than run the risk of losing a fight, Trump would rather lose a limb; the reliance he rests on his legal team is incredible, and the swiftness with which he cuts out any weak link is unbelievable. It is worth asking, would Trump have become the aggressively defensive and arguably codependent without Cohn's influence during Trump's impressionable years? Moreover, after comparing Cohen to Cohn, can Trump survive without a lawyer to lean on?

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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As A Victim Of Sexual Abuse, Painting '#MeToo' On A WWII Statue Is Taking The Movement TOO Far

There is a line you should never cross and that is it.

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The famous picture of the sailor kissing a woman was taken right on V-J Day, when Japan surrendered to the U.S. in World War II. For decades it was seen as a representation of how excited and relieved everyone was at the end of the war.

The picture touched the hearts of thousands as you could feel the overwhelming amounts of joy that came from the snap of the camera. While the woman in the picture died back in 2016 due to a struggle with pneumonia, the sailor just recently died on Feb. 17, 2019 at the age of 95.

Most people saw it as both a heartbreak and heartwarming that the couple that was once photographed were now together.

Other people saw differently.

There is a statue made of the picture that resides in Sarasota, Florida. Police found early Tuesday morning of Feb. 19, two days after the sailor's death, that someone had spray-painted #MeToo on the statue's leg in bright red.

As a woman, I strongly encourage those who have been sexually assaulted/abused in any way shape or form, to voice themselves in the best way they can. To have the opportunity to voice what they went through without being afraid. As a woman who has also been a victim of sexual assault and has been quiet for many years...

This act of vandalism makes me sick.

While the woman that was kissed by the sailor was purely kissed on impulse, she had stated in an interview with 'The New York Times' that, "It wasn't a romantic event. It was just an event of 'thank God the war is over.'"

People were celebrating and, as a sailor, that man was so over the moon about the war being over that he found the nearest woman to celebrate with.

While I don't condone that situation, I understand both the reason behind it as well as the meaning behind the photo. I understand that, while it wasn't an intended kiss, it was a way of showcasing relief. To stick #MeToo on a statue of a representation of freedom is not the right way to bring awareness of sexual abuse.

It gives those the wrong idea of why the #MeToo movement was started. It started as a way for victims of sexual abuse to share their stories. To share with the world that they are not alone.

It helped me realize I wasn't alone.

But the movement, soon after it started, became a fad that turned wrong. People were using it in the wrong context and started using it negatively instead of as an outlet for women and men to share their horrific experiences of sexual assault.

That statue has been up for years. To wait until the sailor passed away was not only rude but entirely disrespectful. The family of that sailor is currently in mourning. On top of it, it's taking away from the meaning behind the photo/statue. World War II was one of the darkest, scariest events in — not just our American history — but the world's as well.

Sexual abuse is a touchy matter, I encourage everyone to stand up for what's right. But to vandalize a statue of one of the most relieving days in America's history is an act that was unnecessary and doesn't get the point of #MeToo across in the way it should. If anything, it's giving people a reason not to listen. To protest and bring attention to something, you want to gather the right attention.

This was not gathering the right attention.

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My Hometown Just Experienced A Mass Shooting, If We Don't Do Something, Yours Could Be Next

You never think it will happen to you until it does.

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I was on my way out the door to work when I got a panicked call from my mother.

"Can you look at the news online?" she said quickly. "There is a mass shooting somewhere nearby."

My heart stopped. For me, Aurora, Illinois is home. I was born there, I grew up around the area and I attended high school there. My siblings go to school close by and my boyfriend works for a neighboring fire department.

How could my beloved hometown become the victim of the latest tragedy?

After calling my boyfriend, who was at the fire station getting ready to deploy ambulances to the scene, I discovered that it had taken place at a factory nearby. My anxiety hit an all-time high as I watched the updates on all of the local city Facebook pages and groups. Officers down. Gunman at large. Mass casualties.

Hours later, all of the facts came out. A former employee of Henry Pratt's Company, a local industrial warehouse, had recently been let go and decided to get revenge. He entered the warehouse with a gun and began to shoot at random, killing five people and wounding many others, including five police officers. He was killed by local SWAT forces.

I am the kind of person who is pro-gun and pro-gun rights because of the second amendment and all of the freedoms I believe we deserve. But that doesn't make what happened okay and it never will.

While this situation doesn't change my mind, it does change my view of the world.

Why would somebody decide that shooting former coworkers was the way to go? Why would anyone want to hurt others? These are the questions that flooded my mind in the hours after the mass shooting. I don't necessarily think we have a gun issue in America, but issues with mental health and valuing life.

We pass bills to kill unborn children. We repeal bills that take away healthcare from million. We devalue life in its most basic form and respect those around us to still have enough respect for each other's lives. We stigmatize those who need psychiatric care and expect things to still be alright.

This is not alright.

Our country, our system, our values, and morals, they are all broken and backward. We have let mass shootings become normal and violence becomes accepted. It needs to be stopped. There needs to be a change.

One of the people killed was an intern from a local college during his first day on the job. Being a college student applying to internships myself, this hit far too close to home. Nobody deserves to die, least of all in their place of work while trying to further their career.

Five people lost their lives due to someone's disrespect of them. Yes, a gun was the weapon, but a mind was the actor. I pray that someday, our country will return to valuing life and respecting others enough to help them instead of pushing them away. This is not the first mass shooting, but it can be the last. If, and only if, we make sure of it.

If you want to help the victim's families in any way, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses

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