Two documentaries on PBS on the candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump – and after that Joe McCarthy – were very informative.
There is a link between Joe McCarthy and Donald Trump and he is Roy Cohn.
Cohn was an up and coming attorney aged 26 when appointed, ahead of Robert Kennedy, chief counsel to Joe McCarthy who was rooting out communists through his UnAmerican Activities Senate Committee.
Cohn cut his teeth – and a few others – on this committee.
His colleague David Schine worked with him.
Cohn, who was gay, was always rumoured to have a relationship with Schine but my late mother had a beauty queen cousin who dated him.
That cousin was to marry a New York property developer who knew Donald Trump well.
Roy Cohn, who represented Trump in many lawsuits, was not just a friend but a mentor.
The documentary spoke of Trump’s combative, never say sorry, style having developed from Roy Cohn’s influence.
Cohn, who represented many mafia bosses too, died aged 59 from AIDS complications.
The IRS seized all his assets but one that evaded them was a set of cuff links given to him by Donald Trump.
If Trump is the quintessential New York developer then Cohn was the type of lawyer that only America can produce – and flourish there – although he was eventually debarred.
Ironically he was always a registered Democrat though most of his close friends and best-known clients were Republicans.
With the Presidential election not long away these insights into American political life are extremely valuable.