Dear Remaining Donald Trump Fans:
I hope this letter finds you well, even if your spirits were crushed on Wednesday.
I get why you won’t — or can’t — admit to feeling crestfallen. But the truth is, Michael Cohen just hammered titanium nails into the coffin of your doomed hero.
And no partisan smokescreen about his credibility can make his words — and the corroborating evidence — vanish this time. No talking points and smears of his character will ever erase his testimony.
Who is Donald Trump? To Cohen, the man who served as his personal lawyer and fixer for a decade, the U.S. president “is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat.”
And while none of this qualifies as breaking news to anyone who has covered Trump since the ’90s, Cohen’s calm, unflinching and, yes, historically noble testimony should be the final wake-up call to all Remaining Trump Fans.
Friends, rub the sleep out of your eyes and come into the morning light. Stop hitting the snooze button on reality. Stop creating a zero-sum fantasyland in which supporting Trump is motivated by sticking it to liberals.
All you’re now doing is sticking it to yourselves.
What Cohen’s testimony made clear is the Trump presidency — which currently has about as many wins as the ’92 San Jose Sharks — is not going to end well.
If you watched the start of Wednesday’s congressional grilling, one thing became clear from the body language of Cohen’s Republican inquisitors: they were more agitated than death metal fans at a Yo-Yo Ma concert. They were more indignant than animal rights activists at a foxhunt. They came apart at the seams.
Why? With each passing minute, it became clear their guy in the White House is a charlatan and a crook. And Cohen, who they tried to portray as the charlatan and the crook, just kept telling the truth.
So Republican lawmakers like Mark Meadows, who started the proceedings by trying to delay the proceedings, went to bat for Trump with a Styrofoam stick that never connected on the fastballs. Jim Jordan flailed about, burping conspiratorial nonsense, looking like a guppy getting flushed down the toilet.
There are almost too many takeaways from Cohen’s opening statement alone, but how about Trump “knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails”?
Or maybe: “Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it. He lied about it because he never expected to win the election.”
Or perhaps: “Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. He had no desire or intention to lead this nation – only to market himself and to build his wealth and power. Mr. Trump would often say, this campaign was going to be the ‘greatest infomercial in political history.’”
This isn’t some random onlooker. It was Trump’s most trusted legal advisor.
And that should be all Remaining Trump Fans need to know.
You got duped. But much like the dozens of subcontractors who got screwed on past Trump real estate projects, much like the American farmers now suffering under idiotic tariffs, much like the college kids who got scammed at Trump University or the millions of Trump voters who can’t honestly say their schools, roads, health care and tax returns are better now than before, it’s not really your fault.
That is the ultimate takeaway from Cohen’s testimony.
The pro-Trump forces want to discredit him as a “convicted felon” and “a liar without a conscience.” But, hilariously, they are overlooking the fact he lied for Trump.
Cohen was often driving the getaway car, no question. But Trump was the one holding up the banks and paying off the porn stars.
So attacks on Cohen add up to one big attack on common sense.
Cohen was praised as a truth-teller inside the right-wing echo chamber when he lied for Trump. Now he’s a pariah for telling the truth about those past lies. Right.
The point, Remaining Trump Fans, is that Cohen should be your inspiration, not your enemy. He’s not a villain in The Trump Show. He’s the folk hero you’ve been waiting for as your doubts about Trump silently multiplied in recent months.
Cohen is going to jail in a few weeks but, on Wednesday, he liberated his conscience.
And in doing so, he provided a blueprint for you Remaining Trump Fans to escape the cult of personality.
You can justify why you gravitated toward Trump at the very start.
After Wednesday’s testimony, there is no justification for sticking with him anymore.
Be like Michael Cohen, Remaining Trump Fans, and get out while you still can.
Vinay Menon is the Star’s pop culture columnist based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @vinaymenon