“He has both good and bad, as do we all,” Cohen says about Donald Trump in a statement delivered to news outlets prior to his appearance at Wednesday’s Congressional hearing. “But the bad far outweighs the good, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal.”
Cohen, who served as Trump’s lawyer for more than a decade, went before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday morning to detail salacious and immoral acts, he claims Trump was involved in prior to and during his time in the Oval Office. While Cohen’s statement — which was read aloud on Capitol Hill — was filled with admissions of guilt and wrongdoing on his part, it also made a point of calling Trump out for being the racist many often label him as.
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“The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer countries “shitholes.” In private, he is even worse,” the statement reads.
“He once asked me if I could name a country run by a Black person that wasn’t a “shithole.” This was when Barack Obama was President of the United States. While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only Black people could live that way. And, he told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid,” Cohen continues.
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In response, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson issued his own statement, which was shared with ESSENCE, saying, “Donald Trump has been showing us his true colors for decades.” He goes on to say, “Trump’s presidency and entire career has been an affront to civil rights so nothing in Michael Cohen’s testimony is surprising for a person that has historically racialized and stigmatized those around him.”
Johnson highlights Trump’s racist housing practices, villainization of the Central Park 5, and birther accusations against President Obama as reasons to support Cohen’s testimony that the man occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is a racist.
In addition to calling Trump out for his bigotry, Cohen also confirms other widely-held speculations. He claims that Trump never expected to win the primary or presidency and used the campaign as a marketing opportunity. He also alleges that Trump had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange publishing DNC emails. Although he doesn’t confirm right-out that Trump knew about Donald Jr.’s meeting with Russia at Trump Tower, he does say, the elder Trump believed “Don Jr. had the worst judgment of anyone in the world.” Suggesting that Don Jr. would not set up a meeting of significance without checking with his father first.
And yet, Cohen continued to work for him, which he repeated several times during his statement.
The former attorney was indicted in August 2018 after pleading guilty to eight counts stemming from hush money he paid to alleged mistresses of Trump. In November, Cohen took a plea deal after lying to Congress about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He has since been sentenced to three years in prison, to begin in May.
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