Donald Trump Confidante Roger Stone Seems Divided About That Whole Trump Thing
With the people on the inside of the Donald Trump campaign constantly in flux, you'd imagine his advisers, past and present, would be taking extra precautions not to end up on the outs with the Republican nominee. But leave it to one brave soul to go every which way in an attempt to... I don't know, make headlines? He seems to have followed Trump's allies fondness for conspiracy theories (hello, Rudy Giuliani!) with a new and odd penchant at criticizing his former boss, "You're fired" himself, Mr. Trump. Trump former consultant and current ally Roger Stone apparently can't decide which side he wants to go with this election.
As pointed out by BuzzFeed News, Stone has been spreading crazy lies about the Clinton family, but has also questioned Trump's decision not to release his tax returns. What gives? First take a look at the argument that Stone made in his book The Clintons' War on Women and repeated at a speech Sunday. He said that Bill Clinton is not actually Chelsea's father. Rather, Stone alleges Chelsea has had four plastic surgeries to make her look less like her biological father, a man who worked for the Clinton Administration and practiced law with Hillary in the 1970s.
As if that's not insane enough, Stone took the opposite tack with his comments to a Miami radio show on Monday. BuzzFeed reported that Stone was asked on 610 WIOD's Fernand Amandi Show if Trump was making a mistake by not releasing his tax returns. His answer makes you think he's got a bone to pick with Trump too: "Yes, I think he should release his tax returns immediately," he reportedly said. The Trump campaign's official position is that he will only release them when his audit is complete, even though he could anyway.
So what's with the back and forth? Perhaps it's his relationship with Paul Manafort, who was seemingly dumped by Trump after new allegations came out that he came out ahead financially in Ukraine after helping a pro-Russia candidate Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort denied any involvement, but resigned from the Trump campaign anyway. Stone and Manafort were partners at a D.C. lobbying firm called Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, a lobbying group that worked on Reagan's election and was eventually merged into a couple into other D.C. firms.
Stone has had an interesting and evolving role in the Trump campaign — much of it unofficial. (Officially, having served as a consultant, he is now an ally.) The most recent shake-up in the Trump campaign could have him worried or upset, but that seems unlikely: He is best known for the kinds of attacks like this most recent one on the Clintons. What is even more probable is that, much like Trump, he relishes the attention. "Never miss the opportunity to have sex or be on television, as Gore Vidal said," Stone told Shridhar Pappu for The New York Times in a profile.
Exactly what his relationship with Trump consists of is unclear. He was an official adviser last year before quitting. Then he came back in 2016 and seems to have played at least an unofficial role on the campaign.
Good luck figuring out Stone's game plan.