In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, an engineer for the U.S. Army Signal Corps and clerk, respectively, were the first citizens to be executed for conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. government. The married couple was accused and convicted of sharing U.S. nuclear secrets with the Soviet Union. Years later, it’s been all but proven that Julius was guilty and Ethel was not.
Their trial was part of a wave of anti-communist panic and zealotry, first called the Red Scare and, later, McCarthyism, wherein everyone from federal government workers to Hollywood actors and writers stood accused of sympathizing with or being part of the Communist party. And, here’s the Trump part, it was largely designed by a young attorney named Roy Cohn, known for pushing legal tactics. He was also the architect behind the lavender scare, which caused 5,000 U.S. government workers accused of being LGBTQ+ to lose their jobs. Ironically, Cohn himself was a gay man.
Cohn would go on to become a Donald Trump’s close friend and ideological mentor. Trump publicly lamented his absence during times of trouble during this presidency.
Listen to Velshi’s commentary below.
Watch Velshi’s piece below.
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