The Cohen–Falwell Connection, or Trumpland in a Nutshell

Two cultures collided when these two men got together, though both were lawyers attracted to Donald Trump. Photo: Getty Images

Buried in a BuzzFeed article about a Florida lawsuit involving a Jerry Falwell Jr. business deal is this hand grenade:

Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen, who is now facing a federal criminal investigation, helped arrange Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Trump in January 2016, BuzzFeed News has learned.

The relationship between Cohen and Falwell Jr. has not been previously reported, but the two have been acquainted since 2012, according to a source with direct knowledge of Falwell’s decision to endorse Trump. The source, a high-ranking official at Liberty University, said that Falwell Jr. occasionally visited Cohen’s office in New York City but that there was no business relationship between the two men.

According to a separate source with knowledge of Trump’s campaign, Cohen was so confident in Falwell Jr.’s support that he and Trump assured others, even before Trump announced his candidacy, that Falwell Jr. would issue an endorsement.

There is no connection made between the lawsuit story and the Cohen/Falwell story until the very last sentence of the long, long piece:

The source familiar with Falwell’s endorsement decision says that he is “sure” Falwell discussed the Florida lawsuit with Cohen.

It’s unclear whether this is supposed to mean that Cohen was somehow involved in the Florida lawsuit (which seems unlikely if the fixer and the university president “had no business relationship”), or whether BuzzFeed just heard about Cohen’s role in the Trump endorsement and decided to toss it into the next story that came down the pike.

But in any event, there is a sort of “worlds collide” aspect to their apparent partnership that seems to illustrate how strange the Trump coalition truly is. That the mobbed-up fixer from Long Island and the self-righteous Christian right leader from Lynchburg wound up in the same milieu is somewhat amazing. Or perhaps Falwell — whose own training is in law, not theology — is a mite more secular in his outlook than we realized. The Florida real-estate deal that is the subject of ongoing litigation makes more sense from that perspective.

The Falwell–Cohen Connection, or Trumpland in a Nutshell