The organization that safeguards the legacy of President Richard M. Nixon, while also administering his presidential library, has released a statement distancing Nixon from Roger Stone, the former Trump adviser who was indicted on seven counts Friday morning.
This led to many guffaws, as the office of the only U.S. president to resign from office felt the need to back away from Stone. For his part, Stone gave Nixon’s old “v for victory” hand gesture after appearing before television cameras following his indictment Friday.
Stone, as has often been mentioned, has a tattoo of Nixon’s likeness on his back, and has often spoken in interviews about how Nixon is a hero and inspiration for his life’s work. But, as the Foundation pointed out, Stone did not play a major role in the former president’s campaigns or White House.
“This morning’s widely-circulated characterization of Roger Stone as a Nixon campaign aide or adviser is a gross misstatement. Mr. Stone was 16 years old during the Nixon presidential campaign of 1968 and 20 years old during the reelection campaign of 1972,” the tweet on Friday night from the Nixon Foundation said.
“Mr. Stone, during his time as a student at George Washington University, was a junior scheduler on the Nixon reelection committee. Mr. Stone was not a campaign aide or adviser. Nowhere in the Presidential Daily Diaries from 1972 to 1974 does the name ‘Roger Stone’ appear.”
Stone has never claimed that he did high-level work for either Nixon presidential campaigns, although he told journalist Matt Labash of The Weekly Standard in a 2007 profile that he engaged in “dirty trick” operations during Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign, and that he had also written a letter to Nixon in the 1960s, when he was a teenager, asking him to run for president again.
Stone was also vocal, in a New Yorker profile the following year, about how Nixon was his hero, even at a time when most Republicans idealized a different former Republican president, Ronald Reagan.
I feel like not enough people know that Roger Stone—who was arrested by the FBI this morning and charged with 7 federal crimes—has a tattoo of Richard Nixon’s face on his upper back. pic.twitter.com/YF9rfg35bf— Michael Del Moro (@MikeDelMoro) January 25, 2019
“The reason I’m a Nixonite is because of his indestructibility and resilience,” Stone said in the profile. “He never quit. His whole career was all built around his personal resentment of élitism. It was the poor-me syndrome. John F. Kennedy’s father bought him his House seat, his Senate seat, and the Presidency. No one bought Nixon anything. Nixon resented that.”
Stone, according to the New Yorker piece, in the 1980s hosted dinners for Nixon in New Jersey, where “groups of journalists would listen to the great man’s monologues about world events.”
Richard Nixon, who resigned the presidency in 1974, died in April of 1994.