[Author’s Note: Roger Stones’ quotes in this piece are a result of a personal meeting I had with him on Monday, Feb. 22 in Ft. Lauderdale, email exchanges throughout all of last week, and a phone conversation on Saturday, Feb. 27.]
It has become apparent that Roger Stone — “former” longtime political adviser to Donald Trump, Republican operative, veteran of eight presidential campaigns, author, columnist, and media personality extraordinaire — is potentially poised to be the most influential behind-the- scenes player in what is shaping up to be a Trump vs. Clinton general election race.
What makes Stone such a tour de force is his ability to impact the campaigns of both candidates.
Recently, Stone has appeared frequently on cable television and the entire media spectrum, as what I call a “Trump-et.” But on February 23, Stone was banned by CNN for relentless attacks on Ana Navarro, an outspoken Trump basher and Jeb Bush ally. As a result, Media Matters, the “Hillary Clinton can do no wrong” campaign apologist group spearheaded by eccentric Clinton loyalist David Brock, gleefully poured gas on the flames of Stone’s past tweets. But that was no surprise since, for reasons explained below, Stone is a major threat to Media Matters and considered Public Enemy #1 by Team Clinton.
For the record, Stone is an acquaintance. Therefore, I know that being banished from CNN was for him just a typical day in the media minefields. Shortly thereafter, Stone sent me an email stating that he is “very, very rarely on CNN anyway.”
Then five days later on Feb. 27, Trump himself weighed in on the CNN controversy tweeting at @real Donald Trump “#RogerStone was just banned by @CNN – their loss! Tough, loyal guy.”
Hey, isn’t that what friends are for?
Stone proudly told me that he “started 2016 with two goals — defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump president of the United States.”
While he implemented those goals, I began noticing a definite uptick in Stone’s anti-Clinton/pro-Trump media activity. Subsequently, I told Stone that I planned to write a piece about him because it “seemed like you are back on the Trump team.” I also asked if “he was working for Trump” or “had some informal arrangement” with him.
Stone said he has “no formal or informal role in the Trump campaign. I am merely an FOT – Friend of Trump who talks to the candidate from time to time.” A perfectly acceptable answer except for the fact that “the candidate” is someone with whom Stone shared an extremely close business and personal relationship spanning 40 years.
However, I knew that in order for Stone even to label himself as a “Friend of Trump,” some serious relationship mending must have transpired since last summer.
To briefly recap, on Aug. 6, after the first FOX News Republican debate, Trump launched a tactical nuclear missile at one of the moderators, network star, Megyn Kelly. The attack was a response to what Trump perceived as Kelly’s unfair question about his past name calling and treatment of women.
After Trump ignored Stone’s advice on how to defuse the matter, Stone quit as the campaign’s senior adviser. Shortly thereafter, Trump announced that Stone had been fired and the spat dominated one 24-hour news cycle.
When I asked Stone about the incident, he said that the “media correctly reported that I had resigned.” Furthermore, Stone said that Trump “fired” him because, “Trump probably thought that I would badmouth him — which I would never do.”
In campaign dog years, Aug. 2015 was centuries ago. But it has all worked out for Stone who, now, as a Trump campaign outsider does not have to clear any appearances, statements, or writings with Trump. In fact, Stone has more influence and flexibility to help his close friend attain the Republican nomination and win the general election. As Stone said, “I don’t work for Donald, I simply support him.” Then days he later added, ”If Trump is the nominee I would do whatever he asked me to do, but I just think I am more valuable on the outside throwing bombs.”
Stone offered some insight into how Trump’s campaign operation is so radically different, breaking every rule of modern presidential campaigning:
Trump is his own strategist, his own speechwriter, his own logistician, his own press secretary, and he is entitled to it. It’s his own money, his own name and you can’t argue with how it has worked.
Then Stone proclaimed, “No one puts words in Donald Trump’s mouth, no one. He runs his campaign by telling you what HE thinks.”
And what about Trump’s long-term campaign strategy? “There is none; Trump only takes the campaign a few days at a time.”
During our Saturday, Feb. 27 phone conversation after a tumultuous week in the Trump campaign, Stone further explained:
Trump is totally situational. He lives in the moment, he is not programed and has amazingly great gut instincts. He knows when to go on the attack and when to back off. Sometimes he will engage and other times he will rise above the fray.
Moreover, Stone says Trump’s campaign is successful because “Trump is genuine, unscripted, un-coached, and not phony. He is not reading speeches and talking points provided by some young speechwriter. He is not operating on what the polls or focus groups tell him what he should say. Voters find that refreshing, interesting AND entertaining. He is like a man on a high-wire without a net.”
Stone then contrasted Trump’s style to Hillary’s “who never says anything that has not been round-tabled, focused grouped, weighed or measured.”
Speaking of Hillary, Stone is executing his strategy to fulfill the other half of his 2016 goal.
Stone’s strategy includes actively touring the country flacking his book. Last week he even held a book signing event close to the Clinton library in Little Rock, Ark.
Stone boasts that his book offers “all the opposition research that Trump needs to go after the Clintons.” As proof that Trump has been reading Stone’s book one can point to Trump’s attacks on Bill Clinton’s past sexual activities and Hillary’s alleged role of victim intimidator. The first of what is sure to be many media flare-ups erupted after Hillary labeled Trump “a sexist.”
During our meeting, I asked Stone to describe how Trump will defeat Clinton. He responded, citing three areas of weakness — “women, blacks, and thievery” — and then launched into detailed descriptions of each summarized below.
Trump will undermine Hillary with women voters because she was a “terrorizer of women.” Stone accuses Hillary of being an “accessory after the fact to most of Bill’s sex crimes. She ran the cover-ups and abused Bill’s victims.” Stone will soon be launching a website called RAPE-PAC with Kathleen Willey and other Clinton victims as spokeswomen. Willey, you may recall, was an alleged Oval Office sexual-groping victim of Bill Clinton’s. The PAC will offer a platform where rape and other victims of sexual assault can have a voice, and especially for Clinton’s long list of victims to whom Willey is the “leader of the pack.”
Stone is fond of saying, “Black lives matter, unless you are Danny Williams.” So who exactly is Danny Williams? (It’s an old supermarket tabloid story.)
Stone believes, as does Williams himself, that he is Bill Clinton’s long-denied bi-racial son born in 1985 to a black prostitute. Allegedly, Williams was banished by Hillary and insisted that Bill do the same. Therefore, if Hillary is the nominee, Williams may decide its payback time, by emerging from the shadows and stepping into the media spotlight.
Stone showed me a recent photo of Danny, now age 31. He is light-skinned, handsome, and the resemblance to the former President is remarkable. Stone strategizes that Clinton’s popularity with black voters will be greatly diminished when Danny Williams’ paternity is authenticated.
Additionally, Stone thinks “Trump can make real inroads among black voters due to the mass incarceration of blacks as a result of the tough crime bill and drug laws signed in 1994 by Bill Clinton.”
Trump will launch attacks against the Clinton Foundation that Stone calls “a $2 billion dollar fraud.” According to Stone, as a Clinton Foundation donor, Trump can sue for fraud using the argument, “I thought I was giving to charity and didn’t know the Clintons were going to steal my donation.”
Stone is convinced that these three areas of Clinton weakness will be terrific fodder for Trump in the general election.
According to polls, Trump is poised to win several March 1, Super Tuesday states and a solid path to the GOP nomination. If so, Trump will be engulfed by an even more intense 360 degree firestorm. That is when he can count on Stone to be standing by with a water truck like this past weekend when a Drudge Report headline read, “BOMBSHELL: INSIDER LEAKS KOCH BROS, RUBIO PLAN TO STOP TRUMP – Roger Stone reveals establishment using Mitt Romney as Plan B if Rubio fails!”
When Stone and I spoke on Saturday afternoon he told me he would be appearing on Alex Jones’ InfoWars but did not mention that he was about to drop this bombshell leak.
In our conversation before the Drudge headline appeared, Stone offered insight about how Trump will handle increased attacks from the establishment that now includes former Tea Party darling, Senator Marco Rubio:
The more the establishment attacks Trump, the stronger he gets, it is jiu-jitsu. Trump against the political establishment is a great narrative for the general election because people are fed up with the political establishment. They are tired of the ruling elite, they are tired of the political insiders.
He then added:
The idea that only angry, stupid white people are for Trump — that plays well with Trump voters who will make sure that they show up.
I then asked Stone about Rubio, who as of the last debate has taken on the mantle as Trump’s most outspoken Republican attacker-in-chief. Stone offered this explanation:
Trump symbolizes success. He has gravitas. All his stature and experience creates a gap between Trump and Senator Marco Rubio — and that is going to be a huge advantage for Trump. Rubio could be president someday. First, let him come back to Florida, serve a couple of terms as governor, actually run something, get some executive experience. He’s got the dynamism and charisma, he just needs the resume. Trump has already done something big.
Then our conversation turned to the question of Trump’s vice-presidential running mate. In my January 2016 piece, “Is a Trump/Kasich ticket in the GOP’s near future?”, Stone had offered the following quote, “Kasich carrying Ohio for the ticket is more likely than Rubio carrying Florida. “
Now that Trump may be faced with this decision, I asked Stone who he thought Trump might select. Although Stone said he would, “like to see how things play out,” Stone remembered his Kasich quote and said, “Kasich still makes geographic sense but Trump would need a food taster.”
Obviously, Stone is protective of his friend of 40 years, whom Stone says, “he has been trying to get to run for president since 1988” and calls “a larger than life figure, a national brand.”
Conversely on December 9, 2015, in an Infowars’ interview Trump had this to say about Stone, “We appreciate Roger Stone; he is a patriot and a tough cookie.”
To Trump, Stone is unique because he is the businessman’s only longtime political adviser. And Stone relishes his current role as Trump’s influential “outside the campaign” ally, free to “throw bombs” and wreak havoc on Team Clinton.
Roger Stone’s two 2016 goals of electing Trump and defeating Clinton are in full implementation mode — keeping his own media profile high and making Stone a man to watch.
Cross-posted at RedState