After Donald Trump fired him on The Apprentice 12 years ago, Bradford Cohen surprised folks when he plastered an enormous seven-by-12-foot Trump billboard outside his law office on SE Third Avenue in downtown Fort Lauderdale in September. Immediately, he became the county's most visible Trump supporter. Though his sign was vandalized a handful of times, Cohen never wavered, even as polls projected a Clinton win; two weeks ago, Cohen ordered a new seven-by-12-foot sign that reads "Congratulations President Trump." It will be going up shortly.
"I'm excited for [Trump] to close this out and ready to see him prove the naysayers wrong again when he makes the first 100 days amazing," Cohen told New Times early this morning as the electoral votes tipped in the Republican candidate's favor. "[The] sign is being replaced with [the] Congratulations President Trump [banner] that I ordered two week ago." In 2004, Cohen was a candidate on the second season of The Apprentice, a reality TV show in which Donald Trump evaluates candidates' business skills and offers the winner a job within his organization. In episode two, Cohen won a challenge and received immunity from elimination. But to gain the trust of his team, Cohen decided to waive his immunity.
Trump called Cohen "stupid." Then he fired Cohen.
Twelve years later, Cohen harbors no hard feelings. A registered independent, Cohen continued practicing criminal law in South Florida after Trump fired him. His website lists "white collar crimes" as his specialty. From Vanilla Ice to DMX and Dennis Rodman, Cohen has defended a roster of high-profile clients. He has spoken on Nancy Grace and other TV shows as a legal commentator. In 2006, he ran for the Fort Lauderdale City Commission but lost the election, coming in third. He hasn’t run again.
During Cohen's campaign for office, Trump called him "a very smart lawyer... a brilliant guy" who's "doing fantastic things." Cohen says that Trump even donated to his commissioner campaign.
In 2007, Cohen donated $1,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — a move Cohen now regrets.
"I vote for whoever I think will make the best president. At the time, I thought it was Hillary," Cohen said earlier this year. “But I was very unimpressed with her as Secretary of State, and I think a lot of people are too."
Cohen says that he has met Donald Trump a handful of times since the show and really admires him. They have maintained a friendship. In fact, when Corey Lewandowski was accused of battery for forcibly grabbing a female Breitbart News reporter, Bradford Cohen was one of the lawyers hired to represent Trump's then-campaign manager. He was never concerned that his outward Trump support would affect business.
Cohen reports the enormous "Trump 2016" poster outside his law office has been vandalized a handful of times. Once, it was cut down the middle. It currently has a tiny sliver carved out where the word "Great" would go in "Make America Great Again."
Bradford for head of DOJ! https://t.co/itCacBeyjN— Steve Harmon (@steveharmonious) November 9, 2016
Right now, Cohen is excited to take down the old banner and replace it with the newer congratulatory one.
"Maybe it’s because I know him, but I just think he is going to be an amazing leader," Cohen says.