On a day when Donald Trump, in a bizarre and rambling telephone interview on the Fox News program Fox and Friends, appeared to distance himself from his longtime personal lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen, a fuller picture of Cohen's relationship with his employer is beginning to emerge.
The new details, uncovered by the Wall Street Journal and reported widely throughout the media, paint a picture of Cohen as almost hopelessly infatuated with Trump, even as the man he calls "boss" repeatedly snubs, abuses and humiliates him — even showing up late to the bar mitzvah celebration for Cohen's son, then giving a speech in which he described how Cohen pathetically pleaded with him to come to the party.
In one more recent instance, according to the new reports, Cohen's feelings were so hurt by the fact that Trump, after winning the 2016 presidential election, did not offer him an important job in his administration, that he set up a breakfast with Trump's rival billionaire Mark Cuban, just to make Trump jealous.
According to Cuban, the tech billionaire perhaps best known as the high-profile owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks basketball team, Cohen even alerted news photographers to show up at the chi-chi Landmarc restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan last November 9, to be certain that Trump would see that Cohen and Cuban spent the morning together.
"Michael is smart and picked up a few tricks from his boss," Cuban told The New York Daily News. "He knows how to use the media to get someone's attention, even the president's." The billionaire added that he believed Cohen scheduled the breakfast, "to p*** off Trump (because) Trump is ignoring him."
Cuban had long been harshly critical of Trump, calling Trump an "idiot" just last August, according to a report by the Dallas Morning News.
"It's easy to call him an idiot because he is," Cuban said at that time. "We've been calling him that for a long time and it hasn't gotten us anywhere."
Cohen's attempt to make Trump jealous apparently worked, because Trump phoned Cohen from Washington D.C. after seeing video on the gossip site TMZ showing Cohen and Cuban having breakfast together. In that phone call, Trump expressed his displeasure with Cohen, who then told Trump that he had breakfasted with Cuban only "to set him straight."
"I told him he has to respect the office, to respect you," Cohen reportedly told Trump in the phone call. But later in the same call, Cohen pleaded with Trump to offer him a job in Washington.
"Boss, I miss you so much," Cohen is quoted telling Trump. "I wish I was down there with you. It's really hard for me to be here."
Though Cohen has often boasted of what he says is his unwavering loyalty to Trump, even saying he would "take a bullet" for his boss, he has reportedly been despondent over Trump's refusal to take him to Washington at his side. Among the sore spots were Cohen's disappointment on not being named Trump's campaign manager after the resignation of Paul Manafort, who was forced out over his Russia connections, and Trump's refusal to pay back the $130,000 in hush money that Cohen paid to adult video star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
In his on-air phone interview with Fox and Friends on Thursday morning, Trump denied that Cohen acted as his lawyer on more than "a tiny, tiny, little fraction" of Trump's legal work — but, significantly, admitted that Cohen represented him "with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal."
Trump's statement Thursday appears to be an about-face from a statement he made to reporters three weeks earlier, in which he denied any knowledge of Cohen's dealings with Daniels,