What made Roy Cohn tick? A good fight against the establishment while having a contempt for people and the law. As a protege to Joe McCarthy during one of the most divisive chapters in American history (of course, other than currently), Cohn would pass on that elitist, abrasive attitude onto our current President and his bestie Roger Stone. What do all of these men have in common? Even last one of them loved power.
As a child in St. Louis, Missouri we may not have learned much about the contributions of African-Americans to our history, but we most definitely heard about the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The Rosenbergs, accused of espionage with the Russians, were executed for treason. Turns out there wasn’t enough evidence to convict them, yet Roy Cohn and his legal team convinced the government that there was. This was one Roy Cohn.
Another persona of Cohn, was an individual despite being a grown man was an only child sought constant approval from his mother Dora (who many deemed the ugliest girl in The Bronx) or the last, but not least the man who by any means necessary would take to his grave that he was gay and dying from HIV-AIDS.
Directed by Matt Tyrnauer, Where’s My Roy Cohn shows the audience a self-hating Jew who would manipulate the law and the system for the rest of his life. A Columbia University Law School grad, his career began as Chief Counsel for the Army- McCarthy hearings, which by all accounts were the real beginnings of reality television when it was 188 hours was broadcast around the nation. One would swear he was made out of teflon. Being ‘in the closet’, Cohn literally sat back and watched four people get fired from the State Department when they admitted to being gay instead of speaking up with and for them, let his judgement become clouded when the government wouldn’t delay the departure of colleague/crush David Shine all while wincing in the midst of’ fairy’ and’ pixie’ comments being thrown around during the McCarthy hearings. If that weren’t enough his Great Uncle was Joshua Lionel Cohen, the owner of Lionel trains where Cohn owned 200,000 shares of stock and saw the company reach its demise after he took over.
At the end of the day, Donald Trump was his greatest student, as he lives by Cohn’s #1 rule…”the press will adequately quote whatever. you say.” He even repped the ‘teflon don’ John Gotti and ironically defended Trump in a case in which he was accused of hiring 200 illegal immigrants then refused to pay them. The same illegal immigrants that Trump is now trying to keep out the country and calls murderers and rapists. The most amazing feat of his illustrious dastardly career involves him aiding a three-way split in New York City resulting in then Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan winning due to electoral votes. Sound familiar?
What I learned most in watching this doc is that there is always someone who thinks they can wreck America by preying on the most vulnerable and the weakest. Roy Cohn enjoyed an illustrious legal career from the age of 20 only to become disbarred and die alone taking the only secret he knew how to keep to his grave.
Where’s My Roy Cohn is an excellent example of how there is always someone out there who thinks they are smarter and more savvy, yet pay the ultimate price when their own reflection is seen in the mirror. Produced by Sony Pictures Classics, this gem drops on September 20th.