With Donald Trump fixer turned tell-all author Michael Cohen in the house Thursday night to promote his book Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story Of The Former Personal Attorney To President Donald J. Trump, Seth Meyers was clearly walking a delicate line. One the one hand, Cohen, as the Late Night host repeatedly reminded his guest throughout, was Trump’s attack/lap dog for decades, and was instrumental in not only adultery-related payouts and the enthusiastically racist dissemination of “birther” bullshit, but also for playing unsuccessful hardball with Meyers himself. As referenced during their conversation, Cohen once gave an ultimatum to Meyers on the president’s behalf: Either make an on-air apology for roasting Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, or lose out on a Late Night appearance from the then-candidate. Sure, Cohen abetted the rise of a man he now decries as a racist, amoral, would-be authoritarian—but for a comedian, that’s the last straw.
But we kid the convicted felon (now in home confinement) who was instrumental in sticking us with this lumbering existential threat to everything America was supposed to be. Cohen was his usual brash self, even as he said all the right, self-incriminating things, telling Meyers that he’s never asked anyone to see him as a hero for finally speaking out against his former boss. No problem there, one might say of the professional accomplice currently on COVID-related sympathetic restricted release (when other inmates who didn’t commit crimes against democracy, campaign finance laws, perjury statutes, and the tax code sit in overcrowded virus incubators). Still, Meyers was clearly glad for the opportunity to have Cohen dish some insider dirt, and largely let Cohen get to pitching.
For those just here for Cohen’s most feculent material, some highlights include Trump deriding guns and his sons’ obsession with murdering endangered species on luxury safari. (Trump hates guns, according to Cohen, but was only angry little Donny and Eric allowed the damning evidence of their glamping bloodsport to leak on the internet.) Same goes for Trump spawn Don, Eric, and Ivanka’s initial objections to Trump’s racist campaign rhetoric, where Cohen alleges that the main issue was that dad’s racial slurs were costing the family money. (Former A.V. Club bosses Univision pulling out of their broadcast partnership with Trump cost the Trump empire some “tens of millions of dollars,” according to Cohen.) Cohen also stated that Don Jr. “was considered the one child who had the worst judgement of any of the children,” which must have been a close race—along with no doubt being perpetual also-ran son Eric’s big takeaway from the book. (For more, check out our intrepid colleagues at Jezebel, who read Cohen’s book so you don’t have to.)
Regardless, Meyers did press Cohen on the fact that the disbarred lawyer never did have a “come to Jesus moment” about his former employer’s pervasive villainy, but that it took Cohen losing everything to come forward with his revelations about what a bad guy he’d been faithfully and shadily serving for so long. (Cohen, who’d just related a prison tale of burning his in-progress manuscript in a prison Passover fire ritual, didn’t react to Meyers’ perhaps loaded choice of metaphor.) “I’m broke and broken,” said Cohen in a practiced but not-inaccurate assessment of his current circumstances, adding further his regrets about “the loss of my moral compass on behalf of a man who lacks a moral compass of his own.”
Noting that he wanted the members of what he termed “the Trump cult” to at least have a fuller picture of the person they’ll dutifully be voting for in November, Cohen compared Trump to an “abusive parent,” and urged those cult members in Trump’s base “to open up your eyes and acknowledge that Trump doesn’t care about you.” Meyers then concluded by setting up a “beautiful piece of prose” from Cohen’s book, before reading out a gag-inducing passage in which Cohen witnesses the dripping, sagging, lopsided spectacle of a pre-assembly Donald Trump getting out of the shower. So add that the list of Cohen’s crimes.