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Licking the Boot that Kicks You

Many people cannot grasp how anyone could possibly support a coarse, narcissistic fantasist like US President Donald Trump. Michael D. Cohen's recent congressional testimony against his former boss provides one answer: the urge to flatter is as conspicuous as the spectacle of self-love.

NEW YORK – Watching Michael D. Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and self-described “fixer,” testify to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform was a remarkable spectacle to behold. Here was a man who was hired by Trump to behave like a gangster. And he did that to perfection. When The Daily Beast was about to report on allegations by Trump’s first wife, Ivana, that her husband had raped her, Cohen barked at the journalist working on the story: “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”

That journalist was hardly alone. Cohen’s job was to threaten anyone who got in the way of his old boss. He lied to congressional committees, paid off prostitutes to stop them from talking about their affairs with Trump, and much else.

Cohen, who will soon begin serving a three-year prison sentence, has become what Mafiosi (and Trump) call a “rat.” Testifying against his old boss in Congress, Cohen neither looked nor sounded like a thug. He recalled a very different type of person. Anyone who has ever spent time in a school playground will recognize him: the weakling hanging around the swaggering bully, doing his bidding, while constantly being humiliated himself. With his hurt-puppy eyes and slack mouth, Cohen plays that part to perfection as well.

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