Last week, Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former attorney and “fixer,” implicated his former employer, the President, in testimony connected to the Mueller investigation. Cohen plead guilty to fraud and campaign finance improprieties. Two observations:
First, Cohen, based on recordings of him aired on NPR, is a thug, a term we use descriptively, not pejoratively. Listen to Cohen threaten his interlocutor with abandon and listen to him curse his interlocutor as if he were an animal. Listen, and judge for yourself whether “thug” is the perfect adjective. Whatever legal repercussions for the President Cohen’s testimony may or may not have, his character, that is, his lack of character, hardly speaks well for his employer — how could one associate with, let alone rely on, such a person? Cohen generates not a shred of sympathy for himself or his own tawdry conduct. How much credibility his guilty plea carries for implicating Trump remains to be seen. Of course, if it turns out that his testimony does have legal repercussions for the President, the chips will fall where they may. And if not, not.
Second, we object to Cohen’s reference to his father as a Holocaust survivor in explaining his resignation from the Republican National Committee last June. He said: “As the son of a Polish Holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart-wrenching. While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips.”
An archival search by JTA turns up no interest or leadership by Cohen in Holocaust remembrance. The same archival search turns up no identification by Cohen with any Jewish cause, religious or secular. In a recent, single tweet, Cohen lumped together Passover and Easter greetings. There is no crime in any of this, of course, but against a background of Jewish indifference, for Cohen suddenly to trot out his father to explain his politics is to exploit the Holocaust. Cohen’s father has been a survivor all of Cohen’s life; why the silence up to now?
Our denunciation of the separation of children at the US border has been made perfectly clear on this page. But to put it into the context of the Holocaust is wrong, since it is historically inaccurate in the extreme as well as emotionally manipulative. But then, based on the way Cohen emotionally eviscerates an interlocutor, his inappropriate invocation of the Holocaust is no surprise.
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