Via the Hollywood Reporter:
Donald Trump is getting the big-screen treatment in a film called The Apprentice that will dramatize his rise to power, focusing on his early influences like attorney Roy Cohn.
Gabriel Sherman, special correspondent to Vanity Fair, who also authored a book about late Fox News founder Roger Ailes, The Loudest Voice in the Room, has been tapped to write the original screenplay for Amy Baer, who is producing the pic through her Gidden Media.
“As a journalist, I’ve reported on Donald Trump for more than 15 years,” Sherman said Wednesday in a statement. “I’ve long been fascinated by his origin story as a young builder coming up in the gritty world of 1970s and ’80s New York. This formative period tells us so much about the man who today occupies the Oval Office.”
For those of you who do not know or are too young to know there could be no more of a villainous and despicable man in all of gay history as the monster named Roy Cohn.
In 1952, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) appointed him as chief counsel to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on the recommendation of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, where Cohn became known for his aggressive questioning of “suspected” Communists ruining hundreds of lives and sending Ethel and Julius Rosenberg to the electric chair.
Cohn preferred not to hold hearings in open forums, which went well with McCarthy’s preference for holding “executive sessions” and “off-the-record” sessions away from the Capitol in order to minimize public scrutiny and to question witnesses with relative impunity. Cohn was given free rein in pursuit of many investigations, with McCarthy joining in only for the more publicized sessions.
Cohn invited his “friend” G. David Schine, an anti-Communist propagandist, to join McCarthy’s staff as a consultant. When Schine was drafted into the US Army in 1953, Cohn made repeated and extensive efforts to procure special treatment for Schine. He contacted military officials from the Secretary of the Army down to Schine’s company commander and demanded for Schine to be given light duties, extra leave, and exemption from overseas assignment. light duties, extra leave, an exemption from overseas assignment — and threatened to “wreck the Army” if they didn’t accede to his demands. The bitter irony of all this is that while Cohn was pursuing special treatment for his “special friend”, McCarthy’s witch hunt extended beyond communists to also include gay people. (See The Lavender Scare) That conflict, along with McCarthy’s accusations of Communists in the defense department, led to the Army–McCarthy hearings of 1954, in which among other developments the Army charged Cohn and McCarthy with using improper pressure on Schine’s behalf, and McCarthy and Cohn countercharged that the Army was holding Schine “hostage” in an attempt to squelch McCarthy’s investigations into Communists in the Army. During the hearings, a photograph of Schine was introduced, and Joseph N. Welch, the Army’s attorney in the hearings, accused Cohn of doctoring the image to show Schine alone with Army Secretary Robert T. Stevens. Welch asked the staffer sarcastically, “Did you think it came from a pixie?” McCarthy interjected, “Will counsel (Welch) for my benefit define– I think he might be an expert on that– what a pixie is?” Welch responded, “Yes. I should say, Mr. Senator, that a pixie is a close relative of a fairy.” in a jab at Cohn. Others in the chamber who were in on the rumors, broke into laughter. Cohn later called the remark, “malicious,” “wicked,” and “indecent.”
After leaving McCarthy, Cohn had a 30-year career as an attorney in New York City. His clients included Trump, Mafia figures Tony Salerno, Carmine Galante, and John Gotti, Studio 54 owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, Texas financier and philanthropist Shearn Moody, Jr., and the New York Yankees baseball club. He was known for his active social life, charitable giving, and combative personality. In the early 1960s he became a member of the John Birch Society and a principal figure in the Western Goals Foundation. He maintained close ties in conservative political circles. Cohn’s frequent phone pals included Nancy Reagan and the former C.I.A. director William Casey, who “called Roy almost daily during [Reagan’s] 1st election.” Cohn was also as an informal advisor to Richard Nixo
Donald Trump, and sought advice after they first met asking: How should he and his father respond to Justice Department allegations that their company had systematically discriminated against black people seeking housing?
“My view is tell them to go to hell,” Cohn said, “and fight the thing in court.”
Cohn also showed Trump how to exploit power and instill fear through a simple formula: attack, counterattack and never apologize.
Trump prized Cohn’s friendship and his reputation for aggression. According to a New York Times profile a quarter-century ago, when frustrated by an adversary, Trump would pull out a photograph of Cohn and ask, “Would you rather deal with him?”
In a 2008 article published in The New Yorker magazine Jeffrey Toobin quotes Roger Stone on Cohn’s homosexuality: “Roy was not gay. He was a man who liked having sex with men. Gays were weak, effeminate. He always seemed to have these young blond boys around. It just wasn’t discussed. He was interested in power and access. Stone worked with Cohn beginning with the Reagan campaign during the Republican Party presidential primaries, 1976.
While publicly closeted and working actively against gay rights, Cohn partied at the best gay bars and threw lavish parties in New York and Provincetown.
In 1984, Roy Cohn was diagnosed with AIDS.
Cohn used his connections to jump to the head of the line for treatment with the then-scarce and experimental AZT. By the time he died in 1986, he maintained his public denial both of his homosexuality and his disease — he said it was “cancer.” In Tony Kushner’s Angels In America, Cohn is portrayed as a power hungry, self-loathing hypocrite who is dying of AIDS while haunted by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg. Cohn’s name is also on a panel of the AIDS memorial quilt. It reads: “Roy Cohn: Bully, Coward, Victim.”
A fitting eulogy if there ever was one.