To understand part of the phenomenon that is Donald Trump, one can do little better than to watch “Get Me Roger Stone,” a documentary about one of the most influential political advisers in Washington DC of the last 40 years. Roger Stone has worked as an adviser to Trump and some have credited him with helping Trump win the presidency. It is directed by Daniel DiMauro, Dylan Bank and Morgan Pehme.
Pehme said in an interview with NPR, “He was the very first person to suggest to Donald Trump that he should run for the presidency back in 1987." He added, "And then he spent the next 29 years cultivating Trump's candidacy until he was ultimately triumphant." The co-director said that the documentary reveals how indispensable Stone has been to leading Republicans since the era of the Nixon administration. Stone was only 19 years old when he was called before the Watergate grand jury and was so loyal to Nixon that a picture of the former president is tatooed across the back of his broad shoulders.
Pehme told NPR that among the facets of Stone that interested him are that “he embraces infamy.” While others seek to “paper over their misdeeds,” Stone is “only too happy to be the despicable villain that everybody hates.” Moreover, Pehme said that when dark and sinister events are happening in politics, Stone is “inevitably is lurking in the shadows with some sort of relationship to the misdeeds that had been done.”
Pehme said that from “day one” Stone believed that Trump was a legitimate presidential candidate. Stone was drawn to Trump’s outsider image and status as a successful businessman, and that “he was going to go in and he was going to smash the status quo in Washington.” While Stone was ridiculed for suggesting Trump’s candidacy, as was Trump, himself, Pehme admitted that he and his co-directors also thought it “absolutely fanciful” that Trump was a legitimate candidate. Pehme said, however, “But Roger consistently sung the same tune and ultimately he was completely vindicated.”
Pehme said that he believes Stone should get credit for the election, after conceding first place to Trump himself. “Roger came up with the idea for the Trump presidential run, was Trump's closest political adviser for the last three decades, fashioned his political philosophy, and for the first year of the Trump campaign in this current cycle, it was really a three-man operation, led by Roger.”
Pehme said that Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, among others, are but Johnny-come-latelies because they had not done “the groundwork in the way that Roger had. He added, “They came in the final months and they got a whole bunch of credit for it, but they didn't lay the groundwork the way that Roger had.”
Pehme said that filming the documentary revealed “Roger perceives the world.” Stone had a lobbying firm in the 1980s that represented various third-world dictatorships -- “murderous, horrible, repugnant people.” He said, “Roger is only too happy to say that, ‘I'm really happy with our lobbying company because we made a lot of money.’”
Among the best lines in the documentary come from Jeffrey Toobin, who wrote a profile of Stone in 2008 in The New Yorker. Toobin said of Stone in the film, “Roger is the sinister Forrest Gump of American politics. This Machiavellian, almost crazy guy who shows up at every key moment of American history.” Tucker Carlson of Fox News says that Stone “actually gets democracy in a way, I think, a lot of people who cover politics don’t. Democracy is the process of appealing to the majority.”