Roger Stone may be the greatest political thug in history. He has worked in politics for decades, and yet does not seem to aspire to higher office. Instead, he sticks to the tasks he knows — spreading near-libelous rumors through anonymous sources, threatening to sue people for no good reason, writing factually dubious books about the Clintons, et cetera. He is a conscience-free daemon summoned by the nation's worst political scumbags, a man who appears out of the ether every few years when Republican candidates can't win races by votes alone. (He's also a lothario, a friend to porn stars, and has Richard Nixon's face tattooed on his back.)
Naturally, he's been advising Donald Trump for decades. As of last year, Stone, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, had been officially working for the Trump campaign, but Trump abruptly cut ties with him last August. Stone says he quit. Trump maintains Stone was fired. But once Stone's presence touches a campaign, it never quite disappears: When the National Enquirer published a story in March accusing Ted Cruz of multiple affairs, Stone's name popped up in the piece.
We've been following Stone's exploits for years now, which is why we started to salivate when he announced a no-holds-barred Reddit AMA — hosted in part with famous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' website InfoWars — earlier this week.
Stone answered questions on Alex Jones' YouTube account for about an hour last night. (The famously well-dressed Stone was looking a bit unhinged — his hair was unkempt and he inexplicably wore a pair of massive, Iris Apfel-style sunglasses indoors. Stone said he's had the glasses for 30 years and compared himself to Tammany Hall political boss Carmine DeSapio.) It also appears someone else was doing a particularly lazy job of transcribing the responses onto Reddit.
Regardless: We stared at Roger Stone for an hour so you didn't have to. As one would expect, he spent most of the interview bashing the Clintons and trying to sell his latest anti-Hillary book. Otherwise, here are the five most interesting things we learned:
1. He doesn't run for office because he doesn't want people to vet his past.
About 14 minutes into the AMA, Stone was asked what role, if any, he'd play in a Trump presidency.
"None whatsoever," he said. "First of all, I doubt I could be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. I have lived a very colorful life." His aversion to higher office has always seemed a bit odd, but it makes sense that he'd hate having to clean up his habits or image to live in the public eye. "I don't claim to be perfect," he said. "I like wine, women, and song. I'm a bit of a libertine. But I'm not running for president."
2. Trump's success actually surprised him (or so he says).
"I always thought that if Trump ran, he'd do well," Stone said. "But he has just won 1,237 votes, essentially today, spending the smallest amount of money of the major candidates for president. He is a public-relations genius. He bet that you could counteract millions of dollars in negative, paid advertising — plus negative media coverage — by responding in the free media. I never thought that would work, but it worked spectacularly."
Whether that's a true statement or Machiavellian deflection to make Trump look good is anyone's guess.
3. He takes the terrifying dietary supplements that Alex Jones sells.
Because I make a concerted effort to avoid Alex Jones' media empire at all costs, I wasn't aware that Jones and InfoWars also sell a wide variety of "InfoWars Life" dietary supplements and snake-oil pills. Stone, a famous proponent of herbal medicine and acupuncture, copped to taking Jones' "Brain Force" supplement, which claims to counteract "toxic weapons in the food and water supply" with a mixture of yerba mate tea, vitamin B-12, and a host of other dubious "brain-enhancing" chemicals.
"It really does work," Stone said. He said later on: "As far as Brain Force is concerned, I've got so many things on my mind, it's been helpful."
4. He might expand his back tattoo into a "Mount Rushmore" of conservatism.
More than halfway through the interview, he was asked whether he'd consider getting a Trump tattoo to match the Nixon face on his back. Instead, he said he was considering expanding the piece into a "Mount Rushmore" of conservatism, which would include Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, and Barry Goldwater.
"I may do that this coming summer, " he said.
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5. He thinks it would actually be a bad idea for Trump to debate Bernie.
It seems Stone and Sanders agree on a number of things: Both despise Wall Street and the war on drugs, for example. Stone thinks many of Sanders' more "blue-collar" supporters could turn sides and vote for Trump in the general election, so he thinks Trump ought to reach out to Sanders fans. It was reported yesterday that Trump and Sanders are mulling a debate with one another — Stone thinks debating Sanders could be a disastrous idea.
"I think you want to be looking for things you have in common," Stone said. "I don't think Trump will win Bernie's hard-left voters, but I do think the blue-collar Democratic voters in the Rust Belt, who realize they have been left out