If you thought former Donald Trump advisor and noted political scoundrel Roger Stone was finally finished after his federal arrest and subsequent gag order, think again.
Stone, for all his skullduggery, apparently remains a hero among Trump supporters in Broward County, where he’s listed as keynote speaker in not one, but two events this weekend.
Kicking off what might be called Stone's "indictment tour" is a date with the Republican Party-tied political group, Trump 2020 Team Florida, which is holding a $75-a-ticket ($150 for VIP seats and $1,600 to sponsor a VIP table) soiree at the American Legion post in Oakland Park on Saturday.
The promotional material reads: “Enjoy an evening of the Stone Cold Truth!” It appears there’s no sarcasm or irony intended, despite the fact that the Stone's federal charges are related to lying in the Mueller investigation.
Stone's long history of admitted lies and deception dates back to when he was a teenager working for Richard Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President, which has the very apt acronym, CREEP. His first, big-time dirty trick was giving a phony political contribution to a Nixon opponent posing as a representative of the "Young Socialist Alliance" (stirring up fear of socialism is far from a new thing for Stone). In 1996, while Stone was working for Bob Dole’s presidential campaign, he denied posting ads in swingers magazines asking for “exceptional, muscled, single, well-hung men” to join he and his wife in bed. He blamed the ads on a disgruntled “domestic worker,” but has since admitted to posting the ads. Dole dumped him from the campaign.
And there are many more deceptions in Stone’s past. Late last year, he admitted to spreading lies about a Chinese dissident living in America at the behest of a Chinese billionaire who represents the People's Republic of China. Much of this history has slid past organizer Bob Sutton, the former Broward County Republican chairman who heads the Trump 2020 group. Full disclosure, I’ve known Sutton for many years. He’s a public school teacher in Broward County and, aside from his Trump and Stone-related activities, he’s a perfectly fine fellow. When I questioned Sutton about Stone, he stopped short of defending the political operative.
“I'm not endorsing him,” Sutton said. “I'm bringing awareness about how he was treated.”
Sutton is referring to the FBI’s arrest of Stone at his home in Fort Lauderdale, involving numerous armed agents. Sutton says it was overkill and wrong, and that's why he's hosting Stone.
"If that happened to you, I would be there for you too," Sutton said. "I'm for the underdog."
But Sutton said he was unaware that months prior to his arrest, Stone had threatened civil war in America on video alongside sweaty loudmouth conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, while the duo visited a shooting range and fired automatic weapons. He also made it clear he would use guns to protect his own freedom. That just might have prompted the FBI to take the extra precautions they did when they arrested him.
Saturday's fundraiser, though, is a classy and staid affair compared to TrumpFest, which is scheduled for the following day in Deerfield Beach. Stone is also scheduled to speak at that event, with additional appearances by the “Bikers for Trump,” Joshua Thifault of Turning Point USA, and the so-called "Trump Unity Bridge," an installation which has toured the continental U.S. in support of Donald Trump.
In the aftermath of the finalized Mueller report, which the president has falsely claimed completely exonerates him of wrongdoing, TrumpFest will likely be a celebratory rally and a preview of the 2020 MAGA gatherings to come.
I called organizer Ronn Royce, a DJ who apparently once worked at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, and in a detailed message left my name and purpose for calling. We then played phone tag before finally connecting.
“Joe?” he asked.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
“No, my name is Bob Norman,” I said.
When questioned about TrumpFest he asked, “What’s that?” He clearly wasn’t interested in talking with a potentially unfriendly news outlet. “Come out and buy a ticket and see it for yourself,” he said before hanging up the phone.
I’m tempted to do just that on strictly sociological grounds or perhaps out of morbid curiosity. Stone is likely to dole out his usual conspiracy spiel concerning the sinister deep state globalist plot to destroy Trump.
But that could get him into trouble this time, with the gag order in place prior to his trial, which is scheduled for November. If he veers off into conspiracy territory involving Mueller or his own case, his comeback tour might be cut short in favor of an involuntary trip straight to a prison yard.