This Michael Cohen & The Onion Feud Shows Trump’s Personal Lawyer Has Issues With Satire
The personal lawyer to President Trump who's locked in a legal battle with Stormy Daniels clearly doesn't understand satire, according to a newly published letter. Michael Cohen sent The Onion a cease-and-desist letter in 2013 demanding that the satirical news site take down an article attributed to Trump that was titled "When You’re Feeling Low, Just Remember I’ll Be Dead In About 15 Or 20 Years." The Onion posted the full letter online Monday, adding that it would take down the piece "in exchange for influence over the president’s decision-making."
Cohen claimed the letter was fake, writing on Twitter that "maybe all of you #haters #trolls missed the memo but @TheOnion is a news 'SATIRE' Organization. That means...it’s not real!" However, David Ford, The Onion's communications coordinator, confirmed on Twitter that the letter was very real.
"I can confirm the email itself is the real deal. From Michael Cohen to our press email address in 2013," Ford tweeted on Monday. "The rest of the story is obviously in @TheOnion's signature satirical voice."
The most striking part of the email is that Cohen pointed out that "the commentary was not written by Mr. Trump," despite the fact that it contained his byline. Of course, that's exactly how satire works.
The email sent on Jan. 24, 2013 contains Cohen’s signature and the Trump Organization logo, although The Onion blurred out his email address. “The article is an absolutely disgusting piece that lacks any place in journalism; even in your Onion,” the email reads. “I am hereby demanding that you immediately remove this disgraceful piece from your website and issue an apology to Mr. Trump.”
The message further asserts that if The Onion doesn’t remove the article, the attorney will “take all actions necessary to ensure your actions do not go without consequence.”
Adding its satirical spin to the 2013 message, The Onion wrote on Monday that it just got around to reading the email:
“We would be more than willing to accommodate Mr. Cohen’s wishes — provided we get something in return, of course. A quid pro quo, if you will.
We believe the removal of the piece in exchange for influence over the president’s decision-making constitutes a more than reasonable deal, and we implore Mr. Cohen to meet with us without delay. We are happy to schedule around his upcoming court appearances.”
Based on Cohen's denial that he ever sent the email, it's not likely that he'll begin negotiating with The Onion.
The original article in question was published one day before the 2013 email was addressed to the then-CEO of The Onion. It began by reassuring anyone "in a bit of a funk" due to the winter weather. "I have a simple tip that’s guaranteed to pick you up and get you back in good spirits in no time, and here it is: Whenever you’re feeling low, just remember that I, Donald Trump, will be dead in roughly 15 to 20 years," the story reads.
The story has a slightly different connotation now that Trump is president, but The Onion's Monday post signaled that it wasn't worried about further backlash from Cohen.
"We are growing concerned that you have remained silent because you have been building a rock-solid case against us for the last five years, and in fact shudder to even imagine the detailed, thorough, and likely damning charges you would bring forward," The Onion wrote.
Whether or not Cohen continues feuding with The Onion, the 2013 article remains online and doesn't paint Trump in a flattering light. "So there’s no reason to be wearing a frown, my friend," it says in Trump's voice. "I will die, and I will die soon. And as long as you remember that, your days will be brighter. I promise."