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Letter from Brussels: The Strong Man Behind Trump

by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 18 december 2016

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Dear Neighbors to the North, Behind every successful man there is a woman. This certainly holds true for a lot of successful men, for instance former American president Bill Clinton. His wife Hillary did not become the forty-fifth President of the United States, but her maligned rival and real estate tycoon Donald Trump did.

Those who think that the strong woman behind Trump is former model Melania is completely wrong. It was not a woman but a strong man, gay and of Jewish descent. This man would continue with claiming he did not AIDS, but liver cancer up to his death.

Only a few days after the American elections, “The Guardian” ran an extensive article on this “strong man,” Roy Cohn. It’s not a flattering portrait of this notorious homosexual, who never came out in public, and was rotten to the core. A psychopath pur sang, the devil incarnated. Not only was Roy Cohn Trump’s lawyer, he also was a prosecutor, set people against each other to enforce false accusations, played a dubious role in high profile fact-finding committees, you name it. Part of his life is chronicled in the article at The Guardian.

Apparently, Cohn was also the man who taught Trump how to get media attention. He only had one advice: “With controversial statements and wildly kicking about, like a devil in holy water, you always get headlines.” Roy Cohn may have passed away in 1986, but it is clear that Trump is still following the advice of his judicial right hand during his campaign for the presidency. As do many other world leaders. Roy Cohn applied this tactic to himself, to his career, and in his capacity as prosecutor, attorney and counselor of fact-finding committees. He made sure that controversy would be his trademark. Cohn himself was using the tactic and bluffing: “Most of my life, there has always some charge against me.”  

Those who browse beyond “The Guardian” can only come to the conclusion that Roy Cohn himself never publicly came out, but was having sex with men. He clearly had a preference for blond boys and was in a platonic relationship with US General David Schine. A name that does not ring a bell immediately, but those who Google Shine and the McCarthy affair, know enough.

It is also unlikely that Donald Trump wasn’t aware of his confidant’s and legal counsel’s escapades. Trump felt true adoration for Cohn, whom he called “brilliant.” As a lawyer, Cohn was indeed brilliant, but also merciless. In the famous espionage trial of David Greenglass, an American spying in the USSR in the 1950s, Cohen was the public prosecutor. Greenglass’ sister and brother-in-law, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, had also been accused.

Even though his sister had nothing to do with it, but perhaps her husband did, Cohn promised him a lighter sentence if he would testify against his sister. His sister would get a lighter sentence. Greenglass did so and got nine and a half years for espionage. Both his sister and brother-in-law were executed. In 2003, Greenglass admitted in an interview that he had given a false testimony under pressure from Cohn, and his sister had to pay for it with her life.

So if the gay community now screams bloody murder about the possible consequences for GLBT people in the United States and abroad after the election of Donald Trump, you should think about this man. He was a secret member of our community, and perhaps could not live with being gay. There is evil in our community, and is sometimes hidden. Like the murderer who shot fifty people to death this summer in Pulse, in Orlando.

On the other hand, these limitations of the GLBT community won’t be as bad. If Donald Trump did bear malice towards the gay community, he would not have teamed up with Roy Cohn. However brilliant, Roy Cohn certainly was not the only brilliant lawyer. Trump could have picked a heterosexual lawyer. He chose Roy Cohn, who would remain Trump’s right hand up to his death.

Yours sincerely,

De Ket




In the New Issue of Gay News, 331, maart 2019

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