Esquire Classic Podcast
Esquire Classic Podcast
PRX and Esquire Magazine
Don’t Mess With Roy Cohn, by Ken Auletta
26 minutes Posted Dec 22, 2016 at 3:56 am.
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Show notes

If president-elect Donald Trump learned anything from his mentor Roy Cohn, it was this: punch first and never apologize. Cohn was notorious for going on the attack—as counsel for Senator Joseph McCarthy during the communist witch-hunts of the fifties, and later as a pugnacious attorney for whom the only bad publicity was no publicity. With hooded eyes and a scar running along his nose, Cohn relished playing the intimidating outlaw in a black hat. He was fearless and bullying yet always considered himself as a victim. Despite this loathsome reputation, Cohn was resolutely loyal and counted among his friends Democrats and Republicans alike. More than partisanship, what mattered most to Cohn was power, as we learn in Ken Auletta’s searing 1978 profile, “Don’t Mess with Roy Cohn.” Auletta joins host David Brancaccio on the Esquire Podcast this week to discuss Cohn’s unrelenting cruelty and drive, and how it helped shape the man who will now lead the country.