anne mikolay 2018Michael Cohen’s testimony before Congress clearly illustrated the deep divide that plagues our nation. In his opening statement, Cohen freely admitted he is guilty as charged and expressed suitable remorse. Whether such remorse stems from sincere self-introspection or is merely the result of having been caught remains to be seen. Cohen was clear in his description of President Donald Trump as a “con, racist, liar, and a cheat” and presented evidence, both concrete and anecdotal, to substantiate his claims. The end of Cohen’s remarks sparked the beginning of what can be described as a political circus.

Not surprisingly, Republicans vehemently defended President Trump and verbally attacked Cohen, parroting one another ad-nauseum. Cohen, they repeatedly pointed out, is a liar, a convicted felon who defies belief, and in their opinion, an affront to Congress and the American people. Several Congressmen accused Cohen of self-promotion and courting book/movie deals; one Republican Congressman suggested the proof Cohen presented (a check signed by President Trump as payment to porn star Stormy Daniels) was a forgery. Cohen, the Republicans posited, had heretofore protected Donald Trump and appeared before Congress now only to protect himself. Republican interrogations followed the same pattern: attack, pose repetitive, accusatory questions designed to malign Trump’s former “fixer,” and then yield to the Chair.

Democrats did their share of flag waving; many prefaced their questions to Cohen with passionate declarations of patriotism and dedication to serving the needs of the American people. Democrats’ tone, however, was decidedly more respectful and less disparaging. They asked pointed questions and received telling answers. Despite this, they, too, were repetitive. The same questions were asked time and time again.

To what end? At this point, nobody knows. Is Cohen telling the truth? Is Donald Trump, as Cohen claims, a con man, who only ran for President to market his brand and line his pockets? Your guess is as good as mine, but the bipartisan agenda was painfully apparent at the Cohen hearings. Republicans were solely intent upon branding Michael Cohen a liar; those on the other side of the fence attempted to ferret out the truth. In the end, after all the political grandstanding, the Cohen hearing was quite like Donald Trump’s inaugural address. Then, as now, his followers viewed the President as a savior who promised them a better America while non-supporters saw a con-man spewing nonsense.

The deep schism within the House mirrors the current divide within American society. Trump warriors, both within the House and among the American people, passionately defend their leader against attack (though it’s interesting to note the GOP, at the Cohen hearings, failed to defend the president himself) while those firmly planted outside the Trump circle sought  to ward off further deterioration of American values by determining what is true and what is “fake.” Wherever you stand, it’s safe to say Michael Cohen’s testimony rocked the House of Representatives.

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Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean in residency at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park
Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean at Langosta

I leave you with food for thought, Representative Jamie Raskin’s (D-MD) insightful comment to Michael Cohen: “Our colleagues (Republicans) aren’t upset because you lied to Congress for the president. They’re upset because you’ve stopped lying to Congress for the president.”

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Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...