Donald Trump Accuses Debra Messing Of ‘McCarthyism,’ But Trump’s Mentor Roy Cohn Was Joe McCarthy’s Lawyer

Donald Trump speaks
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

As Hurricane Dorian pummeled South Carolina on Thursday morning, causing rising floodwaters and widespread power outages, according to a CNN report, Donald Trump took to Twitter to launch a verbal assault on television actress Debra Messing. In a pair of early-morning tweets, Trump appeared to call for the NBC TV network to fire Messing from her current role on the revived Will and Grace sitcom.

In the Thursday Twitter posts, Trump accused the 51-year-old Messing of “McCarthyism,” and called her a “McCarthy-style racist.”

But in attacking Messing, Trump appeared to forget his own close connection to “McCarthyism.”

McCarthyism is named after Joseph McCarthy, a Republican United States Senator from Wisconsin who in the early 1950s led a bogus crusade against supposed “card-carrying” Communists in the United States government, as the U.S. History site recounts. The term “McCarthyism” has come to mean the practice of attempting to destroy careers and lives of political opponents by accusing them of political subversion, disloyalty or even treason, with no evidence to back up the charges.

But in 1953 and 1954, when McCarthy was leading highly publicized hearings into alleged, and largely imaginary, “Communist subversion” within the government, his chief counsel was New York attorney Roy Cohn, as History.com recounts.

Debra Messing poses for a picture.
Emmy Award-winning TV actress Debra Messing. Charley Gallay / Getty Images

About 20 years later, in 1973, Cohn met Trump, then a rising New York City real estate magnate, and quickly became Trump’s lawyer, mentor and close friend until he was disbarred for “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentation” in 1986. He died shortly thereafter due to complications of AIDS.

Despite being gay himself, Cohn followed his persecution of supposedly Communist government employees by leading a purge of alleged gay people in the government that is believed to have cost thousands their jobs, as The Guardian recounted.

Joe McCarthy confers with Roy Cohn
Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy (l) with attorney Roy Cohn (r) in 1954. APA/Hulton Archive / Getty Images
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But though being around Cohn was once described by a fellow lawyer and longtime acquaintance as being “in the presence of pure evil,” according to a Vanity Fair report, Trump formed a close bond with the former McCarthy lawyer, eagerly consuming Cohn’s advice not only on legal matters, but on politics as well.

It was Cohn who introduced Trump to political consultant and self-described “dirty tricks” specialist Roger Stone, according to a New Yorker magazine profile, helping to kindle Trump’s ambitions to enter politics in addition to business.

Stone has remained close to Trump to the present day, and is now under indictment for his alleged role in the Trump campaign’s connections to Russian sabotage of the 2016 presidential election, as The Inquisitr has reported.

Trump may have another motivation for attacking Messing, as author Tony Posnanski pointed out on Twitter: envy. Trump has long coveted an Emmy Award, but never won one for his former show The Apprentice. However, Messing won an Emmy for her role on Will and Grace in 2003.