I’m shocked. Shocked I tell you. Someone said the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. So when people like Caitlyn Jenner act all betrayed and dismayed about Trump’s treatment of gay people I’d say the most important information we have is how the now President treated his close friend and confidant Roy Cohn. Cohn, a powerhouse lawyer, was always there to help with the shady tax abatements, the zoning variances, the sweetheart deals, and to threaten those who might stand in Trump’s way. “You knew when you were in Cohn’s presence you were in the presence of pure evil,” said lawyer Victor A. Kovner, who had known him for years. What was in it for Cohn? Ironclad loyalty. The quid pro quo of being essential to the rich and powerful. Cohn would go on to become one of the last great power brokers of New York. His friends and clients came to include New York’s Francis Cardinal Spellman and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Cohn would become an occasional guest at the Reagan White House and a constant presence at Studio 54. Cohn had an indelible influence on Trump. “Roy was a master of situational immorality . . . . He used a three-dimensional strategy: 1. Never settle, never surrender. 2. Counter-attack, counter-sue immediately. 3. No matter what happens, no matter how deeply into the muck you get, claim victory and never admit defeat.” As columnist Liz Smith once observed, “Donald lost his moral compass when he made an alliance with Roy Cohn.” And they were inseparable for many years.
There was a fly in the ointment, however. In spite of being a rabid conservative and integral to the machinations of the rich and powerful, Roy was very gay. And that was a no-no back in the day. Roy was happy to stay closeted in exchange for not being an embarrassment that had to be explained away to Jerry Falwell and his ilk who were then coming into their own as the Dominionist backbone of the conservative movement. Well, actually there were several flies in the ointment. The one doing the backstroke like Mike Phelps in an Olympic pool was HIV. Word soon began to circulate that Cohn was battling AIDS. He denied it. He was also under a cloud of fraud and ethical-misconduct charges. When it became undeniable, Trump dropped him like a hot potato. Trump would eventually present Cohn with a thank-you gift for a decade of favors: a pair of diamond cuff links. The diamonds like Donald’s friendship, turned out to be fakes.
So this is a guy who knew where the bodies were buried, because he buried them. All that mattered not a bit to Donald. The LGTBQ community is an easy target, and will get some blowback, but none from his core base. Those around him like Jeff Sessions and those in his “inner circle” will do well to remember loyalty goes one way only. When you no longer have any use betrayal is shortly around the corner.
So why did Trump announce his new transgender policy via twitter today? According to Politico,
After a week sparring with his attorney general and steaming over the Russia investigation consuming his agenda, President Donald Trump was closing in on an important win. House Republicans were planning to pass a spending bill stacked with his campaign promises, including money to build his border wall with Mexico. But an internal House Republican fight over transgender troops was threatening to blow up the bill. And House GOP insiders feared they might not have the votes to pass the legislation because defense hawks wanted a ban on Pentagon-funded sex reassignment operations — something GOP leaders wouldn’t give them. They turned to Trump, who didn’t hesitate. In the flash of a tweet, he announced that transgender troops would be banned altogether.
There you have it. The simple cynical explanation.
Oh, and the number of days its been Trump hasn’t been a national embarrassment?