Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy re-enters national conversation
APPLETON (AP) -- Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy and his crusade against alleged communists in the 1950s are back in the news nearly 60 years after his death.
President Donald Trump referred to McCarthyism in one of his late-night tweetstorms and others have broached McCarthy's name in debates over illegal immigration and travel bans, USA Today Network-Wisconsin reported.
Historians have largely attributed the recent interest in McCarthy to his personal and ideological ties to the candidacy and election of Trump. Roy Cohn, who has been called McCarthy's "right-hand man," mentored Trump in the 1970s and 1980s.
"Is it a minor story?" said Matt Carpenter, the executive director for the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton. "Would Trump say he learned from the Cohn playbook, or really the McCarthy playbook? I'd like to learn more about that."
McCarthy is the subject of two books that are in the works from former Boston Globe journalist Larry Tye and Wisconsin native David Maraniss, a Washington Post editor and biographer.
Tye said he's seeking fresh stories about McCarthy and that he hopes to connect with people who knew the senator personally.
"This is the last shot for people who are still alive, and partly a feeling that the world today deserves to have what may end up being the last take on McCarthy," he said.
Tye spent two weeks in Wisconsin last month on research. He connected with relatives and friends of McCarthy, former journalists in the area, curators at the History Museum at the Castle, former politicians and the current homeowners of the McCarthy homestead in Grand Chute.
"They just have been really responsive whether they liked Joe McCarthy or hated Joe McCarthy," Tye said. "People want to tell the story and get their side out to make sure the book is fair."
Maraniss didn't respond to the newspaper's requests for comment.