The character sketch of Donald Trump by the keeper of his secrets was no surprise to anyone who has given a passing glance at the hulk of malevolence in the Oval Office. He cheats. He defrauds. He lies by way of respiration.
He thinks his son is an idiot, and that only suckers served in Vietnam. He believes blacks are incapable of governing. He acts like a gangster. He stiffs contractors and pays off porn stars. We knew all of that. Getting it under oath from a man who was once executive vice president and special counsel to Trump just gave historians a formality for the obvious.
But if Michael D. Cohen’s description of a president who morphed into “the worst version of himself” was not news, certainly the way Republicans took the baton from the ex-loyalist was. They have now become Trump’s fixers, doing his dirty work, issuing threats and ditching long-held principles like so many empty beer bottles thrown from a car.
Cohen’s portrayal of the fraud in the White House, and the details of a Trump Organization run like a criminal enterprise, are not disqualifying to Republicans. Just the opposite. Trump is a racist, a con, a cheat, in Cohen’s words — but those are among the reasons people voted for him. Proving it only strengthens his standing with a large sector of the electorate and many members of Congress.