Donald Trump came from a family of builders. That does not explain how he became the person he is today.
He is a bully. He insults people. He lies. When challenged, he repeated his lies. He tells supporters what they want to hear. He plays to their prejudices. He uses Twitter to scold and berate people. He makes himself the center of media storms. He tries to control the news every day. He is successful in creating chaos and confusion. He threatens to sue everybody.
On Friday, he becomes President of the United States.
How did he become this way? Look to a man named Roy Cohn to understand Trump. In his time Cohn was one of the most feared lawyers in America. He became Trump’s lawyer at the start of Trump’s career.
Cohn was a lawyer for Senator Joseph McCarthy. McCarthy was a senator from Wisconsin in the 1950s. The cold war was starting. It was Communist Russia versus America. McCarthy made his reputation by calling some Americans, Communists. That could ruin a man’s career.
McCarthy said there were “Commies” in Hollywood. He also said the state and defense departments were full of Communists.
Most of what he said was not true. But he kept repeating it. It was a “big lie.” The newspapers felt they had no choice but to report what McCarthy said. Cohn was at his side. He goaded McCarthy on. Then McCarthy had a downfall and died soon after.
After McCarthy’s downfall, Cohn came to New York City to practice law. He used the tactics he had learned in Washington. He added the threat of lawsuits to his routine. A young Donald Trump became his client. People have said Cohn was evil.
Listening to Trump, a close friend of Cohn’s said, “I hear Roy in the things he says quite clearly. That bravado. If you say it aggressively and loudly enough, it is the truth.” He says that is how Roy operated. ”Donald was his apprentice.”
Cohn believed in smearing his opponents. Trump has learned well from Cohn. A reporter asked him if Cohn’s tactics reminded him of anyone. “Yeah, ” Trump answered. “It does come to think of it.”
Cohn died of AIDS in 1986. New York disbarred Cohn just before he died.
Source: The New York Times June 20, 2016