What initially seems to be a quirk of Trump Tower's construction -- its all-concrete frame, unique in skyscrapers, but cheaper and faster to build -- becomes the subject of a tantalizing, but almost immediately dropped, thread in An American Dream. Cohn famously defended more than a few mafiosos, and at the time of Trump Tower's construction in 1980, organized crime syndicates controlled the concrete industry; if you wanted to pour concrete, you had to do business with the mob. Cohn was in an ideal position to collect checks from both Trump and his mafia clients if he brokered a deal to build out of concrete the most prominent new skyscraper in New York City. Did Roy Cohn hook up Trump with the mafia?
Perhaps! Like so many of the complex connections, deals, and accusations of misdeeds on which Trump: An American Dream spends time, the question receives no more than a cursory inquiry. This consistent treatment of Trump's history makes An American Dream inessential viewing except for the masochists who need constant reminders that the commander in chief has a decades-long history of incompetence and hucksterism.
One of the lasting impressions An American Dream makes, however, is that even if the insinuations were true, and Donald Trump leveraged mob connections to rise to fame in New York City, it probably wouldn't matter all that much. The series connects Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan to the same phrase uttered by Ronald Reagan, but Trump resembles Reagan in a more relevant way: Nothing sticks. Instead of Teflon Ron, the 21st century has Teflon Don, and despite the media coverage, the exposés, the former friends and business partners speaking out, Donald Trump can wield his position of extreme power to deflect all comers. Roy Cohn certainly showed him how to do it, though at an extreme cost. Cohn died disbarred and penniless, leaving a trail of enemies, ruined lives, and a rotten legacy in his wake.