Stone met Trump in 1979. The matchmaker was the infamous Roy Cohn, and the context was the fledgling Ronald Reagan presidential bid. Just 27 at the time, six years younger than Trump, Stone was in New York working as the campaign’s regional political director. He needed people to help raise money. Trump was a Jimmy Carter donor but joined Reagan’s finance committee as well. “We hit it off immediately,” Stone recalled.
Ever since, off and on, but mostly on, Stone has been to Trump a lobbyist, an adviser, a strategist, a consultant, and something like a friend. In the long life of the current president—a man whose disposition tends toward isolation and whose relationships typically are transparently transactional and ephemeral—this always has made Stone stand out.
The basis of this Cohn-stoked bond was plain. They shared an ideology of expedience, a stated disdain for elites, a disregard for convention, a core belief in the animal power of publicity. A taste for havoc. An overall and abiding approach to life defined by bottomless reservoirs of cynicism and shamelessness. “I would never take a job in government,” Stone once said. “I’m interested in politics.” Politics, in the estimation of Stone, are a Machiavellian combination of combat and showmanship. And they definitively, in his mind, are not about “uniting people”—they are about “dividing people.” [Continue reading…]