You probably have to be a certain age to know who Roger Stone is, but he’s a Forrest Gump/Leonard Zelig figure who pops up everywhere in our political past. He started early, trying to convince his elementary school colleagues not to support Vice President Richard Nixon’s 1960 campaign for the presidency because (he claimed) Nixon supported having school on Saturdays. He soon became an acolyte of Barry Goldwater and by 1972 he was a dirty trickster on Nixon’s Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP). Later on, he formed a political consultancy with Lee Atwater, and he was allegedly behind the Brooks Brothers Riot that shut down the 2000 recount in Miami-Dade County, contributing to the eventual victory of George W. Bush. He also made a name for himself by placing ads in swingers’ magazines and websites (which got him fired from Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign), and by forming a PAC in 2008 dedicated to beating back the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. He named it Citizens United Not Timid, which has an intentionally vile acronym. Don’t be surprised if Stone revives this PAC sometime next year.
Along the way, Mr. Stone also made money serving as an adviser to America’s most famous racist, Donald Trump. And that is how his name came up in McKay Coppins epic takedown of The Donald for BuzzFeed. Apparently, Mr. Stone resented it when Coppins referred to him as “a ‘Nixon-era trickster’ who blackmailed reporters, [and] lied constantly to everybody.” Actually, Coppins was only characterizing how Stone had been portrayed in a 2007 Weekly Standard profile, and I’d say the characterization is accurate.
Of course, dishonesty is Stone’s profession, and it’s also a personality flaw. Remember how I said he liked to swing? Well, he lied about that for years:
In 1996, Stone resigned from a post as a volunteer spokesman in Robert Dole’s campaign for president after The National Enquirer wrote that Stone had placed ads and pictures in racy swingers publications and a website seeking sexual partners for himself and his second wife, Nydia. While he does enjoy frequenting “Miami Velvet,” a swingers club in Miami, Stone initially denied the report.
On the Good Morning America program he said: “An exhaustive investigation now indicates that a domestic employee who I discharged for substance abuse on the second time that we learned that he had a drug problem is the perpetrator who had access to my home, access to my computer, access to my password, access to my postage meter, access to my post-office box key.”
In a 2008 interview with The New Yorker Stone admitted that the ads were authentic.
Do you see how he made up a story about a drug-addicted servant who impersonated him to explain away his desire to partner-swap?
It takes real character to come up with nonsense like that.
In any case, Mr. Stone was upset with Mr. Coppins and he wrote him an email:
“Did you even read the Weekly Standard article? Please site (sic) the actual line from that article that says I ‘blackmailed reporters’ or ‘lied constantly to everybody,’” Stone wrote to Coppins. “The only liar here appears to be you. … You call yourself a journalist?”
If you care, you can read the Weekly Standard article for yourself and decide whether or not it paints Stone as trustworthy.
More to the point, it pays to keep track of Mr. Stone because wherever he is, some sort of sordid skulduggery is going on. It’s been that way for decades now.