Scaramucci Backs Michael Cohen's 'Cult' Take on Trump Allies: 'I Get It, I Was There'

The former personal lawyer for Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, has described how there was a "cult" of people who surrounded the president, in an assessment that has resonated with another former White House aide.

Ahead of the publication of Disloyal: A Memoir, Cohen told NBC News how "in the book, obviously, I describe Mr. Trump as a cult leader, and I was in this cult," adding, "so one of the purposes of writing the book is really from one former cult member to the current ones."

This appeared to chime with the experience of Anthony Scaramucci, the White House's former director of communications, who has praised Cohen's candor.

The quote

Scaramucci, a poacher turned gamekeeper who since he left the White House after only 10 days on hte job in 2017, has become a prominent critic of Trump, rallied to Cohen's side, tweeting on Tuesday night: "Michael's gift to all of us: admitting that he was sucked into a cult. I get it, I was there.

"The viciousness scares current cult members but when/if they break free there is peace. @MichaelCohen212 please keep talking, you are helping ppl see the truth and they will walk."

Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, President Trump's former attorney after his release from prison on July 24, 2020 in New York. He has released a book in which he described those in Trump's orbit as being in a "cult." Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

Why it matters

With the nation's bookshop shelves already groaning under the weight of memoirs by disgruntled former White House employees, Cohen has described his addition to the pile as a way to assuage the guilt he felt from his time working with Trump.

The controversy over Trump's reported comment describing American veterans killed in WWI as "losers"—strongly denied by the White House—was an example of how the president's backers have to defend the "indefensible" according to Cohen, who told NBC, "I mean, who could possibly accept this? But when you're in the Trump cult, you have no choice but to accept it."

Cohen was given a three-year sentence in December 2018 for arranging payments in the 2016 election to silence women who claimed to have affairs with Trump. He pleaded guilty to tax evasion and campaign finance violations and was released from jail in July to serve the rest of his term at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael’s gift to all of us: admitting that he was sucked into a cult. I get it I was there. The viciousness scares current cult members but when/if they break free there is peace. @MichaelCohen212 please keep talking, you are helping ppl see the truth and they will walk.

— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) September 9, 2020

Despite Cohen's foibles, it appears that Scaramucci appears to have found a kindred spirit and has used his story to bolster his claims of chaos and incompetence at the White House.

Scaramucci warned last month that the GOP under Trump was shrinking its own base and it could "become a minority party for a generation," but whether such attacks by Scaramucci and Cohen have any effect at the ballot box in November remains to be seen.

The counterpoint

A Guardian review of the book by Trump's former lawyer says "it is easy to distrust Cohen. On that score, Disloyal should be taken with more than a grain of salt. Its author is no hero."

In that light, the White House has taken the approach of casting aspersions on Cohen's character, and motives for the book.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany attacked Cohen's credibility saying in a statement to the Washington Post: "Michael Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress. He has lost all credibility, and it's unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies."

Other books critical of Trump include ones by former national security advisor John Bolton, two from Post associate editor Bob Woodward and another by Trump's niece Mary Trump. All have been slammed by the president.

"About the only way a person is able to write a book on me is if they agree that it will contain as much bad 'stuff' as possible, much of which is lies," the president tweeted on August 29.

"It's like getting a job with CNN or MSDNC and saying that 'President Trump is great.' You have ZERO chance. FAKE NEWS!"

"Even whether it's dumb warmongers like John Bolton, social pretenders like Bob Woodward, who never has anything good to say, or an unstable niece, who was now rightfully shunned, scorned and mocked her entire life, and never even liked by her own very kind & caring grandfather!" Trump added in a follow-up tweet.

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.