Radical Review

Is President Trump the New Teflon Don?

Recently a number of political observers have recognized an apparent similarity between Donald Trump’s approach to politics and the management style of a Mafia Don.  Others have noted everything from his ties to mob figures to his admiration for dictators.  Recently, however, the President has begun to take on the ominous trappings of a resurrected John Gotti, aka the Teflon Don by arguably obstructing justice by threatening persons he knows to be witnesses in ongoing FBI investigations. 

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s attorney for more than a decade who has referred to himself as the president’s personal “Tom Hagen,” (the fictional consigliere to Don Vito in The Godfather)  was scheduled to testify before a congressional committee on February 7.  At the hearing, he was expected to tell what he knows about Donald Trump publicly and under oath. 

Mr. Cohen whom the President has referred to as a “rat” (mafia term for a person who cooperates with the police against other mobsters) announced on January 23 that he will indefinitely postpone his appearance before the committee.

Cohen claims that he and his family have been threatened by none other than the President of the United States and the President’s attorney Rudy Giuliani a former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.   Let that sink in for a minute.

Elijah E. Cummings, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and Rep. Adam Schiff Chairman of the  House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a joint statement that reads in part, “Efforts to intimidate witnesses, scare their family members, or prevent them from testifying before Congress are textbook mob tactics that we condemn in the strongest terms . . . . our nation’s laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress.”  United States  Senator Richard Blumenthal agreed noting that “These kinds of tactics smack of what the mob does.”  

“In the United States, President Trump would like to establish a mafia state,…” George Soros

In 2002 John Gotti, reputed “Boss” of the Gambino Crime family, aka the Teflon Don, died at a United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. The late boss was given the name Teflon Don because he avoided conviction for so long.  It seemed that like Teflon (the non-stick coating for pans and other cookware) charges against him would never stick.  It is said that he accomplished this feat by tampering with witnesses and generally obstructing justice at every turn. 

John Gotti was a New York gangster who thought that he could not be touched by the law.  In effect, he thought he was above the law – a delusion characteristic of gangsters and would-be dictators.  Like most gangsters, John Gotti made his way to fortune and infamy by being a bully.  Like all bullies, his tactics were threats and intimidations.  Of course, he was also alleged to have been responsible for more than a hundred murders. Be that as it may, what Gotti represented was the modern evolution of gangerism.

Gangerism Playbook

Gotti, Perhaps taking a page from Al Capone’s gangster playbook came out of the shadows to bask in the destructive sunlight of publicity.  Yes, he was proud of it.  Apparently, Gotti was a publicity hound as well.  He loved the spotlight.  Kept his hair neatly coiffed as if he began every day at the salon. He wore $1000 dollar suits (he was also called the Dapper Don). He loved praise.  He was a braggard. And he was beloved by his faithful followers.  Who by the way supported him until the end – no matter what was said about him or what charges were brought against him.  And of course, he was a native New Yorker. Sound like somebody else we know? Yes, and the resemblance is so uncanny that I am pressed to ask has John Gotti been resurrected? Is President Donald Trump the New Teflon Don?

The Mueller Connection

Those uncanny similarities aside there is another that we and President Trump should not overlook. John Gotti died in prison because bullies and gangsters (a difference without a distinction) always end up the same way.  But what is really noteworthy and telling about the comparison between the first and second Teflon Don is that the second may be brought down by the same person who brought down the first. 

John Gotti avoided conviction through multiple trials. His downfall-the conviction for which he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole was in U.S. v, Gotti, et al,. The man who brought down John Gotti was then Assistant United States Attorney General Robert Mueller.  Mueller authorized the deal with Sammy Gravano that put the last nail in Gotti’s coffin.  

John Gotti believed he was above the law because he kept winning. President Trump says the investigation by Special Counsel Mueller is a “witch hunt” and that he will be exonerated.  Perhaps after he fires Mueller?  I doubt it. One thing is certain the President should not now or ever underestimate Robert Mueller. 

Another Similarity

Another important similarity.  Mueller and his team of prosecutors will be following the money trail which must inevitably lead to the massive infusions of hundreds of millions of dollars from sources linked not only to Russia but also the Russian Mafia.  Not to mention that an alleged Russian money launderer owned five condos in Trump Tower that the FBI seized as having been purchased to “launder money, to shelter and hide assets.”  

The Last Point

One last point.  On the day that John Gotti was sentenced “… hundreds of chanting, flag-waving Gotti supporters protested in front of the Federal courthouse in Brooklyn, …. outside the courthouse, demonstrators displayed placards and chanted support for Mr. Gotti for more than two hours. Police officials said that at its peak, the demonstration included about 800 to 1,000 people. They said several cars parked in front of the courthouse were damaged, seven demonstrators were arrested and eight police officers were injured.”  Die-hard supporters are the same no matter who the Don. 

Is President Trump the new Teflon Don?  Only time and testimony will tell.

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Johnnie Cordero

Johnnie Cordero is an African American thought leader who identifies as a Radical Centrist. He is the current Chairman of the Democratic Black Caucus of South Carolina. Cordero is the host of the “Radical Review” podcast and is a frequent political contributor and commentator for The MinorityEye. Cordero holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Doctorate in Jurisprudence. He is the author of ‘Total Black Empowerment: A Guide to Critical Thinking in the Age of Trump.’ His new book ‘Theodicy and The Power of the African Will’ is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online book sellers.

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