The untold truth of Roger Stone
While Roger Stone might be best known today for his role within Donald Trump’s first presidential campaign, he had an incredibly long career in Washington, D.C. and New York City before he ever became involved with the former real estate mogul. The political consultant had worked on several other Republican campaigns, successfully installing Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush in the White House.
However, Stone’s tactics are controversial (to put it mildly). Among Stone’s axioms is “attack, attack, attack — never defend,” a strategy abundantly clear in Trump’s campaign. Politico also noted Stone’s other mottos, which were found throughout Trump’s campaign and presidency, including “Admit nothing, deny everything” and “Make your message big, bold, and simple.” While these tactics clearly work — to an extent — they are also a good way to turn people against you. For all of Stone’s successes, he has earned twice as many enemies and opponents, with Democratic strategist George Arzt calling him “the wicked seed who has poisoned the tree of democracy.”
Stone was charged with witness tampering and lying to investigators following Trump’s 2016 election, and was sentenced to 40 months in prison. However, just a few months later, his sentence was commuted by the president himself. Let’s take a deeper look at the man Donald Trump has so feverishly supported over the years.
Roger Stone tried to get Donald Trump elected for nearly 30 years
Although it took until 2016 for Roger Stone to succeed, he began grooming Donald Trump for the presidency long before anyone, including Trump, really took the idea seriously. According to Politico, Stone and Trump were first introduced in 1979 by infamous lawyer Roy Cohn. Stone recalled hitting it off with Trump right away, and viewing him as a “prime piece of political horsemeat.”
Stone first primed Trump politically in 1987, encouraging him to take out ads in The New York Times and holding pseudo-campaign events in New Hampshire. Initially, this mostly had the effect of increasing sales from Trump’s book, The Art Of The Deal. However, Stone worked with Trump again in 1999, when he sought the nomination of the Reform Party. The Washington Examiner recalled in 2007 that he got them backstage access at The Tonight Show under the condition that they didn’t print anything “making fun of Mr. Trump’s hair.”
We all know what happened the next time Trump ran: Stone helped engineer the scorched-earth campaign that landed Trump in the White House in 2016. At that point, the two had known each other for so long that campaign chairman Paul Manafort claimed, “Roger’s relationship with Trump has been so interconnected that it’s hard to define what’s Roger and what’s Donald.”
Roger Stone is a huge Richard Nixon fan
Roger Stone literally has a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back, if that’s any indication of his feelings toward the man. Stone’s admiration for the disgraced president has more than a little to do with the fact that Stone got his real political start working on Nixon’s re-election campaign in 1972 — the very campaign that would be forever overshadowed by the Watergate Scandal that essentially forced Nixon to resign only two years later.
In 2014, Stone referred to Nixon as “a kind and good, if flawed, man,” according to Politico, also calling him “a brilliant strategist,” a “great statesman,” and the “victim of elitist hypocrites.” Though Stone had little to personally do with the Watergate break-in, the experience allegedly taught him about legal-but-dirty tricks to harm an opponent’s campaign, including releasing mice at rallies and ordering hundreds of pizzas to Democratic campaign headquarters.
While Nixon’s resignation harmed his legacy irreparably, Stone learned a different lesson from the experience, saying, “Far from being a perpetrator, Nixon was a victim … of a conspiracy by the judges, lawyers, press and committee that relentlessly persecuted him.”
Roger Stone has some pretty disturbing connections to the Proud Boys
While Roger Stone has been described as slimy for decades, his connection with the Proud Boys is certainly one of the more disturbing chapters in his personal story. Though defenders might categorize them as some far-right political group, the Proud Boys are classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, while The Daily Beast referred to them as a neo-fascist organization.
After Stone was arraigned in 2019, Proud Boys joined him at a federal courthouse to show their support. Stone has pledged his support for the group, too, with a video circulating in 2019 (via The Daily Beast) that showed Stone reciting part of their initiation ritual. Some in the group have claimed that Stone is a low-level member, while Stone himself denies this assertion. Whether or not he is officially a member, Stone has been photographed with members on more than one occasion, including one photograph showing Stone and members flashing the white power symbol.
Stone has also apparently used the Proud Boys as something of a private security detail, telling The Daily Beast that, although the members are volunteers and he did not hire them, he appreciates their support due to the “large number of death threats I have received and the many potentially violent and physical attacks on me in public spaces when I travel.” It’s a safe assumption that we will never get a straight answer out of Stone on this issue, but the evidence that exists certainly shows a man friendly with this hate group.