A new book by Roger Stone and a lecture by his fellow Trump advisor Newt Gingrich this week provide revealing insights about the president and his recent actions.
Stone’s book, The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated A Revolution, complements Gingrich’s lecture this week at the Heritage Foundation in sharing information useful to Trump’s friends and foes alike at this pivotal early stage of his presidency.
The book and lecture deliver for the most part highly positive portrayals of Trump.
“I have zero doubt that the man in charge of the Trump presidency is Trump,” Gingrich said, for example. “And that will not change.” The lecture series was sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, whose President Jim DeMint is shown in our Justice Integrity Project photo at the lectern Jan. 30 introducing Gingrich, who is standing at right awaiting his speaking turn.
These portrayals of Trump help provide valuable insight into his remarkable victory and his current controversies. That story cannot be understood in the traditional Republican vs. Democrat, right vs. left framework. Those simplistic divisions minimize the vast financial, cultural, religious, and other personal motivations in play for Trump, his backers, and their critics.
Regular readers here know that we see Washington as a house of mirrors where well-financed puppet masters use an array of controlled officials, institutions and propaganda to achieve their goals with relatively superficial public scrutiny. The power brokers operate from such playbooks as Machiavelli’s The Prince, a pamphlet first circulated in the early 1500s that showed rulers and their advisors how to gain power via ruthless methods, not piety.
In such environments and with the stakes so high now, all information is valuable from insiders, even if much of it is advocacy and some is fragmentary.
In the preface of Stone’s book, he describes how he met Trump in 1979 via Trump’s powerful attorney Roy Cohn, the young real estate mogul’s mentor and friend.
Most people don’t know anything about these relationships.
Even fewer would know Stone’s role as a fund raiser for the 1980 presidential campaign of California Gov. Ronald Reagan — or the precise identities of Cohn’s oft-notorious clientele. Cohn’s clients included Genovese leader Tony Salerno, the underboss of one of New York’s major Mafia families and a top figure in the region’s concrete supply business.
As Stone recounts: Cohn finished a meeting with Salerno and then heard Stone’s fund-raising pitch on behalf of Reagan. Cohn then arranged an introductory meeting with his client Trump to help the Reagan campaign.
Stone puts a positive glow on the anecdote and proceeds to describe his close appreciation for Trump’s talents.
Such admiration prompted Stone to encourage Trump to run for president beginning in the late 1980s. Stone was an advisor early in Trump’s 2016 campaign but left in mid-2015 to publish hard-hitting books attacking first the Clintons and then the Bush family. His books combined in rare fashion reporting, scholarship, and partisan insider opinion, as reflected in their two titles: The Clintons’ War on Women and Jeb! and the Bush Crime Family.
What’s happening in the nation’s capital across the board is too important and complex for normal commentary. Today’s column summarizes key points of the Stone and Gringrich commentaries. These are amplified below by an extensive appendix of links to the Stone book, Gingrich lectures about Trump, and recent major news developments.
(I explored these themes during an hour-long interview Feb. 1 on The Phil Mikan Show in Connecticut, which broadcasts over WLIS-AM and WMRD-AM.)
Trump’s methods and goals have created global headlines since his inauguration Jan. 20. To begin this overview, we start with the Gingrich lecture at the Heritage Foundation headquarters overlooking the U.S. Senate buildings in the nation’s capital.