12 quotes from Michael Cohen's book Disloyal

I read Michael Cohen's book Disloyal. Here are some quotes from the book and some thoughts about the book and Trump. 

Before I get to the book, I want to briefly mention two earlier posts I wrote on Trump before he got elected president.

Trump warned he would be an autocrat

In this post from March, 2016, I warned that, in his rallies, Trump used rhetoric which resembles that of dictators like Hitler. This method is: suppress rationality by creating fear by mentioning threats (true or imagined) from outside (China, Mexicans, etc.) and within (Obama, the deep state, etc.) so that you can take control and legitimize violence and law breaking. I warned that this approach will never be successful in the long run and argued for rationality. 

In this post, from July 2016, I mentioned that Trump was open in his sympathies for authoritarian leaders (and the undemocratic regimes they run) and in his intentions to apply their methods in the USA. 

The USA is already becoming an autocracy

It would be a mistake to say that Trump has failed to achieve his goals as a president. It would also be a mistake to say that American democracy is 'in danger'. 

Why do I say that? Because Trump has already taken successful steps to turn the US into an autocracy and American democracy is already harmed. In other words, he is doing what he wanted to do. American democracy is not just 'in danger'. It is already seriously damaged.

Trump has attacked the separation of powers and so far he seems to have won this battle. He lies constantly and has found many spokespersons and all members of his Cabinet willing to do the same. An army of liars. As the number of lies continues to rise the lies have become normalized. So is the fact that Trump illegally uses his public office to enrich himself. And that he is actively undermining fair elections

Trump has subjected Congress to his will by gaining practically full control over the Senate. Trump has appointed judges in record numbers and appears to have a majority of loyalists in the Supreme Court. His own crimes and impeachable offenses seem to continue to go unpunished. Crimes of Trump loyalists are pardoned by him. 

If that weren't enough: Trump has strengthened ties with dictators and harmed relationships with traditional US allies. 

If this is not an autocracy, what is?

Michael Cohen confirms: Trump is corrupt and ruthless

What Michael Cohen has to say should not be a surprise to anyone, at this point. He paints a picture of Trumps as a narcissist, a sociopath, a liar, a racist, a criminal, and an authoritarian. Here are some quotes:

  1. Doing anything -and I mean anything- to "win" has always been his business model and way of life.
  2. I bore witness to the real man, in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was: a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man. 
  3. He crushed and cheated all who stood in his way. 
  4. He projects his own sins onto others, partly to distract and confuse, but mostly because he thinks everyone is as corrupt and shameless and ruthless as he is.
  5. The task in a catch, kill, and twist operation was to bury the truth, and if that wasn't possible, to distort it beyond recognition, to sow doubt and confusion and even fear. 
  6. Look at what Trump is doing now: running the world, into the ground, but still, he literally rules. 
  7. He abandoned the truth in favor of falsehoods- which he knew perfectly well were false- in exchange for news-cycle soundbites, and the media has fallen for it over and over and over, to this day and beyond. 
  8. Trump doesn't help people, he preys on them. 
  9. In defending the indefensible, you can't resort to reason or facts or good business practice; you can't appeal to conscience or justice or fairness. All that is left is what I resorted to, and what Trump displays so often: rage. 
  10. No one ever tells Trump the truth about his behavior and beliefs, or the consequences of his conduct and ignorance and arrogance, in business or in his personal life and now in politics. Trump truly is the boy in the bubble, impervious to the thoughts and feelings of others, entirely and utterly focused on his own desires and ambitions. 
  11. Trump was a mobster plain and simple, and I had just participated in political and personal blackmail. 
  12. Everyone other than the ruling class on the earth was like an ant, to his way of thinking, their lives meaningless and always subject to the whims of the rulers of the world. 

What worried me then, what worries me now

In the short term, it is not certain at all that Trump will not win a second term. I think Cohen is right in saying that Trump will do anything at all to win, no matter how immoral or illegal. And he may win. Especially when the democrats still do not seem to have found a credible and competent candidate.

What worried me in 2016 is that such an incompetent crook like Trump might in fact become president. What worries me now is that many Americans at this point still do not seem to see the clear and present danger that Trump actually is.

Eventually, Trump will lose

But eventually Trump will go down. People now fully in Trump's grip and prepared to lie for him, like Bill Barr, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Pence, Peter Navarro, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Mike Pompeo, Larry Kudlow, Nikki Haley, Rand Paul, Steve Mnuchin, Kayleigh McEnany, etc. may end up like Michael Cohen. Whenever he will think they will have lost their usefulness to him, or get themselves into legal trouble, he will be prepared to distance himself from them completely and show no loyalty whatsoever.

But staying loyal to Trump is a losing game anyway. Trump will go on creating chaos and problems in the USA and distance the USA further from other developed countries. He is not only a problem to the US, to an ever-larger extent, he is a problem to the world as well. 

He will lose in the end and his loyalists will see they bet on the wrong horse.