After he was charged in the state of Florida for misdemeanor battery for grabbing a reporter at a campaign event, Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been the focal point for attention paid to the rather, um, unusual team of unsavory people that Trump has surrounded himself with in his bid for the presidency. But there was (is?) another member of the Trump team that Lewandowski is alleged to have pushed out who has been making some noise lately and deserves more attention: Roger Stone.
Stone is a long-time right wing operative who is still working with Trump in an unofficial capacity. In a report published Tuesday afternoon, Media Matters found that Stone has been busy scrubbing his Twitter account of a mind-boggling number of racist, sexist, and just plain offensive tweets. A sampling of some of the more colorful ones:
Note: he called Herman Cain "Mandingo" repeatedly.
That this is what goes on in Stone's head doesn't really surprise anyone. This is a man who started an anti-Clinton group in 2008 and named it C.U.N.T., to give you an idea of what kind of person we're dealing with. As Media Matters notes, Stone's Twitter history got him banned from both CNN and MSNBC, and yet he was still on the Trump campaign team, is still on Fox News regularly, and is still quoted as a Trump surrogate without much mention of how his Twitter feed reads like the bathroom wall at a white supremacist rally.
This isn't even the first story about Trump advisers being flagrant public racists. It used to be that Stone, Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen, and a man named Sam Nunberg were the entirety of Trump's campaign staff, until Trump hired Lewandowski, who supposedly pushed Stone and Nunberg out. Nunberg's fall came shortly after Business Insider outed his racist online history, featuring gems like this:
So two-thirds of Trump's original staff were people who just can't help making crude racist jokes online.
Nunberg has defected to supporting Ted Cruz now (not sure if Cruz wants him), but Stone still seems to be working for Trump, though it's hard to say how closely, due to the fact that Stone runs a super PAC and is supposed to not be communicating with the campaign in that capacity.
Either way, Stone is definitely taking the lead on using threats of violence as a weapon to secure Trump's nomination at the Republican National Convention.
"We’re going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal," Stone told Stefan Molyneux in an interview this week.
It's not an empty threat. Even though Stone was pushed out of respectable Republican politics in 1996 after the National Enquirer outed him as a swinger running ads seeking group sex encounters, he ended up playing a central role in helping the George W. Bush campaign muck up the vote-counting process in Florida long enough for Bush to sneak past Al Gore in to the White House.
As Jeffrey Toobin recounted in a 2008 profile of Stone for the New Yorker, Stone was the central figure in organizing the "Brooks Brothers riots" that helped stop the vote recount in Miami in 2000. With targeted advertising and by busing in young Republican elsewhere, Stone was able to orchestrate a threatening presence outside the Stephen P. Clark Government Center.
Inject a rumor — a false one — about the Gore representatives smuggling ballots out of the counting room and boom! Stone got his riot. He led the crowd to rush the doors, stoking a lot of "screaming and yelling", in his own words. The result was the election officials were so spooked they ended the recount.
"The recount in Miami was never re-started, depriving Gore of his best chance to catch up in the over-all state tally," Toobin wrote.
So yes, when Stone starts saying that he's going to get hotel numbers and insinuating he'll provoke riots, it's a threat with teeth.
The enthusiasm that violent people and racists have for the Trump campaign is not some unintentional side effect or accident. The presence of Roger Stone, who has been with Trump in one capacity or another from day one, shows that this kind of authoritarian politics is baked right into the campaign's DNA.