Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Roy Cohn and Donald Trump

For those of you too young to remember Roy Cohn, understand that he was notorious enough to have become, after his death, a major character in a long-running Broadway play, Tony Kushner's Angels in America. Why? He was the sleaziest, and one of the most powerful, lawyers who ever lived, advising, among others, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. After forging a man's signature on a will--the man was comatose and in a hospital bed at the time--Cohn was finally disbarred. And P.S., Cohn died of AIDS, one reason Kushner included him in a play about the havoc wreaked on American society by this incurable monster of an illness. (Everything you might want to know about Cohn, including his friendly support of Joseph McCarthy, his verve in sending Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to the electric chair, and his fulfilled wish to die owing millions to the IRS, is right here:

My point is, Roy Cohn was a very big pal of the Republican candidate--among other gangsters, including Mafia bosses and the Roman Catholic archdiocese of New York. Yes.

I have my own Roy Cohn story. Back when Cohn was a child, a woman my family knew well--a Juilliard pianist--got a job teaching the young Roy to play the piano. The money was good, and each week this teacher met with the kid, attempted to teach, and couldn't even get him to sit down at the piano. The entire time she was there, he ignored her, talking to his friends on the phone about legal cases, or reading legal articles. He was, she reported, "the nastiest little boy I've ever met." Finally she went to his mother, hating to relinquish a job that paid so well, but feeling dishonest about keeping it. She explained, "Mrs. Cohn, I've tried to teach your son piano, but he's really not learning anything. I don't feel right taking your money."
Mrs. Cohn begged her to stay: "For that hour that you're here, I know where Roy is," she said. 
Cohn is the man who helped Trump in a dark moment--when Trump was enmeshed in lawsuits, Cohn's advice remained, "Give 'em hell." And Trump's been giving everyone hell ever since.

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