Broward County

Indicted Trump aide Roger Stone is a ‘dirty trickster’ with a long history of politics

Roger Stone, the former informal adviser to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign who had worked for decades on U.S. political campaigns, was indicted Friday in Fort Lauderdale as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The seven-count indictment charges him with lying to Congress and obstructing the probe.

So who, exactly, is Roger Stone, the man born 66 years ago in Norwalk, Connecticut?

No stranger to presidents

Stone worked on the 1972 campaign of President Richard Nixon, which helped the Republican incumbent handily defeat Democratic challenger George McGovern. It was his first major official political job.

Stone worked on Republican Ronald Reagan’s failed 1976 campaign for president, a presidency ultimately won by Democrat Jimmy Carter who beat sitting President Gerald Ford. Stone would be more successful helping guide Reagan to victory in 1980 against Carter.

Stone has a tattoo of his idol — Nixon — on his back. He got it in 2004 in California. “I was drunk, and it seemed like a good idea,” he said in a 2014 Miami Herald profile.

Stone also tried to get Jack Kemp and Bob Dole into the president’s seat in the White House in the 1980s and 1990s.

His allegiance to Trump dates to the time he served as the future president’s casino lobbyist in the 1990s when he first suggested to Trump that he consider running for president in 1998.

South Florida’s his home

The consultant moved to Fort Lauderdale in 2001 after 9-11.

“I could see the smoke of the Pentagon from my office, and that was it for me,” he told the Herald in 2014.

His first “political trick”

Roger Stone is a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster.

His first trick? Helping a Democrat.

According to the Washington Post, when Stone’s grade school held a mock vote in the 1960 presidential election, a means most schools conducted to teach students how government works, Stone, about 8, stumped for Democrat John F. Kennedy against Nixon. Yep, that Nixon, the man he’d later immortalize in ink on his back.

But 12 years before he helped guide Nixon into a second presidential term, he campaigned at his high school for Kennedy in a rather underhanded way that hit students where they lived: “I remember going through the cafeteria line and telling every kid that Nixon was in favor of school on Saturdays. It was my first political trick,” Stone said in the 2007 Post story.

A bumpy ride in South Florida

Stone’s retreat from D.C. to Fort Lauderdale wasn’t without its bumps. He’s said there have been two attempts on his life.

One happened in 2017, when he told Miami Herald news partner CBS 4 that he was a victim of a hit-and-run driver in Pompano Beach while en route to the airport to promote his book, “The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated a Revolution.”

He said at the time the accident “’certainly could be’ Russian hacking scandal retaliation.”

The Broward Sheriff’s Office confirmed that there had been an accident where Stone said it occurred. But he wasn’t listed as a passenger in the car that got hit. He said he took an Uber home and left the driver behind because it was taking deputies too long to arrive on the scene.

He also claimed he was poisoned around Christmas 2016 with polonium, got sick, and recovered.

“I know some people chortle and say this was a way for me to sell books,” he told CBS4 at the time.

‘Miami Vice’ style before it was a thing

“Miami Vice” star Don Johnson wasn’t the first to make going around without socks a fashion statement.

Stone did it as far back as Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, a sartorial decision not beloved by the fastidious future first lady, Nancy Reagan. She told her husband Stone was missing something down there.

‘I’m not wearing socks until the Soviets are out of Afghanistan,’ ‘‘ Stone told the soon-to-be president, The New York Times reported. ‘‘I had to say something, and that answer seemed acceptable to Gov. Reagan.’‘

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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