Like many controversies these days, it began with a tweet.
On Sunday evening President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen tweeted a picture of his college-age daughter, Samantha Blake Cohen, and compared her to Edie Sedgwick, a ’60s icon and muse of Any Warhol who died of an overdose in 1971.
“So proud of my Ivy League daughter … brains and beauty channeling her Edie Sedgwick,” were his exact words. Twitter users immediately responded with calls that Cohen’s posting of the image, on Mother’s Day, no less, was odd at best, creepy at worst, and arguably misguided, given the current controversy surrounding the Trump administration’s policies on health care, addiction, and women.
So proud of my Ivy League daughter…brains and beauty channeling her Edie Sedgwick. On Instagram @samichka_ pic.twitter.com/mpQxhr3mh3
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) May 15, 2017
Clad in a lacy black bra and black tights, Samantha Cohen had posted the picture to her own Instagram that day, saying the image had “Edie Sedgwick vibes,” and it did. In fact, one Twitter user rounded up that exact image:
— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) May 15, 2017
Edie Sedgwick came from a storied and monied New England family, became a darling of Andy Warhol’s Factory, inspired Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” and the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale,” and died at the age of 28 — after years of declining health from barbiturate addiction and alcoholism — of an overdose after fatally mixing pills and alcohol one last time.
Samantha Blake Cohen later issued a response to the website Fourtwonine.com on Monday, saying, “my father does not think I’m ‘hot’ and him posting a professional photo taken of me in a bra and pants does not mean he sexualizes me.” “There is nothing inappropriate in the picture,” Cohen continued, “and those who seek to make it something it is not are merely Trump haters who are using this as an opportunity to stir up drama. I find it hypocritical that those who consider themselves liberal would criticize a woman embracing her body … it is tasteful and it is demure.”
“There is nothing inappropriate in the picture,” she continued.
But the damage had been done.
The Twitter firestorm was multifaceted. There were those such as Shannon Coulter, co-founder of
#GrabYourWallet, mentioned above, who felt Cohen was championing eating disorders, given Sedgwick’s bony figure.
Others used Cohen’s tweet to air their suspicions about the Trump administration’s relationships with their wives and daughters, while many just found the whole episode to be creepy.
@MichaelCohen212 POTUS wants to date his daughter, the VP calls his wife "mother," and DJT's attorney posts spank-bank material of his daughter.
— Bonnie Bratnober (@bonibrat) May 15, 2017
@MichaelCohen212 The last time my dad posted a pic of me in lingerie was never.
— Mimi ™ (@Mimi_ftw) May 15, 2017
@MichaelCohen212 It's cool to take pride in your daughter, but weird to be posting her underwear photos honestly.
— Austin Braun ☻ (@AustinOnSocial) May 15, 2017
— Connie Christopher (@ceejchris82) May 15, 2017
Cohen then made the situation stranger when he doubled down on the comparison after being called out by a Twitter user for sharing the photo, within the context of comments about women made by Trump and some of his cohorts:
But another important criticism of Cohen’s tweet is that this image is falsely glamorizing addiction and ignoring the fact that addiction care will be limited by his boss’s plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare.
Withdrawal and detox from barbiturates can be life-threatening for an addict, which is why these processes need to be done under medical supervision in an accredited rehab facility.
House Republicans, however, first attempted to pass a bill that would strip mental health and addiction treatment services from Medicaid and went on to pass one, now headed to the Senate, that would not only limit health care for those with preexisting conditions, including drug addiction, but also cap Medicaid expenditures, thus limiting the number of services that could be offered to low-income people already struggling to access mental health and addiction-treatment services.
Rolling back Medicaid expansion would further penalize those seeking treatment for addiction: Of the 11 million Americans who were able to qualify for Medicaid in states that opted to expand their qualification guidelines following the passage of the ACA, 2.8 million of those individuals used their new Medicaid coverage for substance-abuse-related services. Those same 2.8 million Americans would lose their coverage for accessing these services, as well as the rest of their health care, under the new Republican plan.
Furthermore, the Republican plan aims to eliminate the “essential health benefits” defined by the ACA from Medicaid plans, allowing coverage for such benefits to be left to the discretion of the states. Mental health and substance-abuse treatment are currently defined as essential health benefits — and allowing a state to discontinue that coverage for its Medicaid recipients would mean effectively denying that coverage to those individuals as well.
More than 70 million Americans are insured through Medicaid, and it is the largest payer for addiction-treatment services in the United States. Now, however, that stands to change, and radically so.
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