Trumped Up: Mike Daisey's "The Trump Card"

07.28.16
Mike Daisey
Metro Weekly

No one person or issue is fully responsible for the rise of Donald J. Trump. But if anyone created the Manhattan meglomaniac as we know him today, it was Roy Cohn, the closeted homosexual mastermind behind the 1950s Lavender Scare.

“He built Donald Trump,” says Mike Daisey. “He was not just his lawyer, but his principal advisor and consigliere for 13 years.” Their working relationship ended when Cohn died from AIDS-related complications.
 
That’s just one of the fascinating and disturbing facts revealed in The Trump Card, Daisey’s latest monologue, debuting Aug. 2 at Woolly Mammoth. The monologuist first developed the notion of a theatrical examination of Trump last year, as rumors started swirling that the mogul and reality TV star might run for president.

“I’ve done a number of biographies of different megalomaniacal people over the course of my career,” Daisey says, noting that Trump’s outsized personality and influence matches his previous subjects L. Ron Hubbard, P.T. Barnum, and Steve Jobs.

“Donald Trump is a really fascinating figure and signifies a lot about how Americans view themselves,” he says. “Our expectation now is not that the common man is our hero, but that instead the billionaire represents us as the best version of ourselves.” It’s a shift that Trump helped manifest through relentless self-promotion and media manipulation over the last several decades. Yet it was the American political system as a whole that laid the groundwork for his latest feat.
 
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