A tale of two Trump lawyers

Does Michael Cohen represent all Trump attorneys?  Does Michael represent Jews?  Does Michael Cohen represent New York? Does David Friedman represent all Trump attorneys? Jews? New York? The Five Towns?

Cindy Grosz

OpEds Cindy Grosz
Cindy Grosz

Michael Cohen is a Jewish attorney for President Donald J. Trump.  He is from the Five Towns.  David Friedman is a Jewish attorney for President Donald J. Trump.  He is from the Five Towns.

Both are making headlines routinely.  Both are the topic of local discussions among friends and neighbors.  But for very different reasons.

Michael Cohen is getting lots of sympathy from the Democrats, or anti-Trumpers.  I have been asked why I support President Trump after what he did to Michael Cohen.  I know people who know Cohen’s family, his neighbors and went to school with him.  He had his Bar Mitzvah in one of the community’s most respected Modern Orthodox synagogues.  His defenders actually say that Donald Trump made him do his dirty work, just like he makes everyone else.  He became the darling of “The Left.”

David Friedman is currently the United States Ambassador to Israel.  He will forever be known as the ambassador who oversaw the official Embassy Opening in Jerusalem.  Previously, for over twenty years, he was one of Donald Trump’s attorneys.  Currently, he is making headlines while addressing the Chamber of Commerce of Judea and Samaria.  He also made headlines when he asked the question people from all areas and sides who are Zionists want to know, “Why can’t anti-Semitism be rejected in the halls of Congress?” As I write this, Ambassador Friedman is touring a Hamas Tunnel with one of Israel’s great friends in the Senate, Lindsay Graham.  I was fortunate enough to be with Senator Graham in Israel twice last year, including at the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem.  I have also been inside a Hamas tunnel, not a very comfortable tourist site.

David Friedman has been under the magnifying glass and the target of progressive Jewish organizations since the president nominated him for the prestigious position.  He also was questioned by the elected officials in Washington DC. He became the enemy of “The Left.”

It seems odd that one media outlet pointed to the Young Israel shul he is a member of  when writing of his connection to President Trump, as if that is an important fact to add to the current issues here and in Israel.

I am confused, did it matter where Jack Lew or Joseph Lieberman, both religious Jews, davened?  Is there something different at the Shabbos kiddush?  

Maybe we should ask the following questions:

Don't we need to ask ourselves what we are doing before we believe, speak and spread items, with regard to fact versus Loshon Hora (slander)?

Does Michael Cohen represent all Trump attorneys?  Does Michael represent Jews?  Does Michael Cohen represent New York?

Does David Friedman represent all Trump attorneys? Jews? New York? The Five Towns?

In 1987, Michael Douglas portrayed Gordon Gekko in the film Wall Street.  He acted a Wall Street tycoon so well that he won an Academy Award for Best Actor.  Douglas, as Gekko,  gave an insightful and memorable speech where he said, "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good,  greed is a clean drive that "captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind."

Michael Cohen seems to be just another example of a person who challenged himself to break laws in order to have a lifestyle only a few of us ever achieve - like the character of Gordon Gekko?

If you have been following the news, you know that Michael Cohen, even at his lowest points, and under the most extreme pressure from the current Democratic majority of the House of Representatives, did not testify that he was aware of any Russian collusion. They tried, but they could not get him to do that. Even afterwards, as it is now public information, he met multiple times with Democratic congressmen who were directly involved in the public hearings, and we see a man, whose name happens to be Cohen, the voice of conflicting testimony, name calling and complaints.  

We also learned that Michael Cohen has been asked and will not publicly decline offers for big money deals for books and movie options on his version of working with Trump.

And, on the opposite side of the spectrum, we have Ambassador Friedman.

David Friedman has publicly stated in multiple ways that he is honored to be an appointed official and part of the Trump administration.  He also considers many members of the Trump family friends.  In order to accept this position, Friedman had to give up multiple business partnerships and lots of income.  He doesn’t think twice about it.  When Friedman visits the United States, he usually visits the Ohel and learns with his personal rabbi.

Another question we need to ask is, “Who spreads our Loshon Hora?”  Do we thrive on the downfall of Jews?  Do we like having the pictures and headlines on printed, elected and social media?  Is it any different than the coverage of New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio shaking hands with the likes of Jona Rechnitz?

Ultimately, if we look at the situation of both logically, we realize that both Cohen and Friedman are simply men.  They don’t represent Jews, New York or Israel.  They don’t even represent attorneys.  We can compare two doctors, accountants, housewives and yes, even Rabbis the same way.

The only thing they do represent is gossip among those who spread no good.  It didn’t start, nor will it end with President Donald J.Trump.  But, we can do our part by not speaking Loshon Hora.  And, we should show more respect for a sitting president, whether or not we agree with his positions on issues, just like I did during the Obama administration.

Cindy Grosz can be reached at cindyscorners@gmail.com