Roger Stone has been the troll sitting connected the enarthrosis of almighty Republicans since Richard Nixon’s presidency. His “dirty trickster” moniker derives from a vocation of cutthroat weaseling for the close people. Throughout the Trump years, Stone remained 1 of the president’s closest friends and loyal allies.
He besides has adjacent ties to aggregate Proud Boys and chapters, particularly those astir progressive successful Florida authorities adjacent his location successful Fort Lauderdale, and helium remains without a uncertainty the gang’s closest transportation to Trump’s interior circle. In an exclusive interview, Stone gave a rare, candid look astatine his narration to the notorious far-right thoroughfare gang.
He’s a person and confidant to Enrique Tarrio, the gang’s chairman, who’s present sitting successful jailhouse awaiting proceedings connected seditious conspiracy charges, implicit what the Justice Department calls his outsize relation successful the insurrection astatine the U.S. Capitol.
The brace has appeared unneurotic connected galore occasions dating backmost to 2018, and they marque nary concealed of their communal respect. Tarrio makes property appearances successful defence of Stone whenever helium ends up successful court, and Stone boosts the Proud Boys and attends their events. In December 2018, the brace stood unneurotic successful a video code to the gang, and Stone called connected the Proud Boys to combat backmost against “globalists” and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was astatine the clip starring the probe into predetermination meddling and ties betwixt Trump’s campy and Russian officials.
“Keep the faith. Don’t fto them deterioration you down ― the globalists, the two-party duopoly, Robert Mueller, the heavy state, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post,” Stone said. “They privation to deterioration america down. Never springiness up the fight. We volition prevail.”
Stone agreed to an interrogation with maine successful May 2021, during a clip erstwhile helium was nether immense nationalist scrutiny implicit his proximity to the insurrection. He maintains that helium was successful his D.C. edifice during the riots astatine the Capitol. But helium made assorted appearances with the Proud Boys successful the days surrounding the lawsuit and, connected the greeting of, was captured connected video flanked by a radical of Oath Keepers, immoderate of the gang’s closest allies. He was aboriginal subpoenaed by the House sheet investigating the Capitol attacks, though helium refused to cooperate with the probe.
Interviewing radical similar Stone is simply a analyzable and confounding benignant of dance. He’s a celebrity, a convicted liar, and a Trump sycophant, and similar a kid calved of each three, he’s prone to self-serving connection salads sandwiched betwixt half-truths and deflections. He couldn’t determine from question to question whether helium was adjacent to the Proud Boys oregon not; successful 1 enactment helium said helium didn’t subordinate with the pack but “befriended circumstantial individuals who happened to beryllium members of that organization.”
In another, helium lamented that the Proud Boys, and Tarrio successful particular, had been “stigmatized” by the media. He suggested that the Proud Boys were ne'er convulsive oregon racist, contempt a upland of grounds proving otherwise.
“When a prevarication is repeated capable times implicit and implicit again by these almighty assets, you get unfairly labeled. And I deliberation that’s what has happened to the Proud Boys,” Stone told me. “‘They’re racist, they’re achromatic supremacists, they’re violent, they’re criminal.’ No, nary of these things are true. Not successful my experience.”
From the start, and passim the 25-minute conversation, Stone repeated the assertion that if the Proud Boys were a transgression endeavor susceptible of carrying retired unit oregon an insurrection, helium had nary thought astir immoderate of it, and helium had nary portion successful it. And successful immoderate case, helium argued, thing transgression attributed to the Proud Boys was the enactment of an individual, not the group.
“You can’t condemn everybody who’s an Italian American due to the fact that immoderate Italian Americans broke the law. It conscionable doesn’t enactment that way.”
He worked hard to deflect for the Proud Boys, adjacent erstwhile determination wasn’t immoderate evident request to bash so. Some of that seemed to beryllium for the involvement of self-preservation; whenever he’s asked astir his narration to the pack oregon his whereabouts during a Proud Boys event, helium launches into a spiel astir the media’s mismanagement of his and the Proud Boys’ image.
But it was besides wide that helium had invested a sizeable magnitude of affectional and nonrecreational superior successful Tarrio. In fact, Stone admitted that he’s been advising Tarrio and the Proud Boys straight for years, possibly overmuch successful the aforesaid mode helium mightiness person advised Trump. He said helium provided his nonrecreational and idiosyncratic input connected their governmental goals and connected respective occasions gave them proposal erstwhile they got into ineligible occupation oregon did thing that was atrocious for their optics.
“I encouraged [Tarrio] erstwhile helium wanted to tally for Congress, adjacent though I thought it was astir apt a hopeless exercise,” Stone said. “Enrique is idiosyncratic who’s had a pugnacious life. But helium is charismatic. And I bash deliberation he’s got a large aboriginal if helium wants one. Although I fearfulness [he] volition perpetually beryllium stigmatized by the creeps astatine CNN, the existent haters, the folks who truly are intolerant, the folks astatine MSNBC ... It’s a mendacious imagery. And it’s truly tremendously unfair.”
Asked whether helium thought the Proud Boys could marque a coagulated corporate tally for bureau going forward, Stone suggested they mightiness beryllium excessively “radical” to gain his support.
“I don’t spot them arsenic an elective governmental force. That’s conscionable not however I spot them. I spot them arsenic idiosyncratic patriots who enactment Western values,” helium said. “If you’re connected the left, you tin transcend your extremist past. It’s not wide whether you tin transcend a extremist past connected the close for a governmental future. Just not clear. Too aboriginal to say.”
Stone besides gave the pack proposal aft respective of their members were jailed pursuing an attack connected protesters extracurricular a GOP lawsuit successful Manhattan successful 2018. He said helium believes the convicted Proud Boys mightiness person been exonerated wholly if they’d listened to him and hired a amended lawyer, 1 who could formed the blasted connected antifa and basal up to the New York establishment. He pushed Gavin McInnes, the group’s founder, to get caller practice for the assailants.
“They should person hired a erstwhile authorities lawyer wide who could person taken [New York Gov.] Andrew Cuomo connected frontally,” helium said. “If the Proud Boys are violent, past antifa and [Black Lives Matter] are violent. You can’t person it 1 way. Gavin [McInnes] knows I consciousness this way: I deliberation they should person been amended represented.”
After Tarrio took the reins, Stone told him that the gang’s representation was increasing excessively toxic for nationalist depletion and suggested that helium should conscionable alteration their sanction and commencement over.
“Candidly I told him a bully 2 years agone that I deliberation helium should alteration the sanction of the enactment and wholly rebrand them. I deliberation they’ve been truthful thoroughly stigmatized.”
When I asked whether helium had immoderate ideas for their caller name, helium changeable backmost immediately. “Yes, I would person called them the Ancient Order of the Orange Men.”
It was evidently a notation to Trump and his iconic orangish hue that comes from a heavy furniture of TV makeup. Was Tarrio receptive to the caller name?
“Not successful the slightest,” helium said. “I would accidental wholly disinterested.”
While Stone didn’t look ace optimistic astir their chances astatine existent governmental success, helium didn’t number the Proud Boys retired completely, though helium said helium wasn’t alert of immoderate different members moving for nationalist office. Asked whether he’d endorse different Tarrio run, Stone said helium would hold to gauge however the charges stemming from Jan. 6 affected him and the remainder of the Proud Boys.
“I’d similar to spot the results of the existent situation. I mean, you know, each American is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.”
Even his openness to endorsement means a lot. The Proud Boys climbed to higher heights successful their archetypal fewer years of beingness than immoderate different extremist radical astir them, specifically due to the fact that of their high-level governmental connections. And those relationships person helped launder the Proud Boys’ representation for the wide public. They’re present celebrated connected the close arsenic state fighters and sought retired for their security.
Excerpted from “We Are Proud Boys: How a Right-Wing Street Gang Ushered successful a New Era of American Extremism” by Andy Campbell. Copyright © 2022. Available from Hachette Books, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.