It may be a 17-year-old interview, but in many respects the talking points are very familiar: Campaign finance reform. A rigged system. Bad trade deals. Straight talk. The candidate’s arrogance. The accusations of sexism.
Mounting an exploratory committee for his ultimately aborted 2000 run for president, onetime advisor and current Trump ally Roger Stone went on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal in 1999 to field questions about the mogul’s prospects for a White House bid on the Reform Party ticket.
While some of his exchanges with callers eerily prefigure the same answers Trump surrogates still bandy on cable news in defense of the candidate, one of Stone’s claims sticks out: his professed desire to join a party that is “tolerant” on issues such as immigration.
Stone said that, though he was fiscally and economically conservative, he veered from the Republican party on social issues. “I don’t want to be part of a party that bashes immigrants or bashes gays or bashes African Americans, or who takes extreme positions of intolerance on questions of social policy,” he said.
Trump has, of course, made immigration one of the cornerstones of his campaign, and Stone has backed him wholeheartedly. He referred to the ban on Muslims as “one of the most extraordinary” and “brilliant” ideas Trump has proposed.
Other moments in the interview are eerily prescient: Callers tell Stone they have trouble taking Trump seriously, worrying that any potential campaign is just a publicity stunt. They point to his arrogance and apparent misogyny, referring to his wife as “my supermodel” at a public event. Others can’t believe that Trump is getting so much press, and note that he seems to have no policy proposals beyond insulting other candidates. Presaging this year’s complaint that Trump is not a “real” Republican, one caller says Trump is merely posturing and could not be a serious, ideological standard-bearer for the Reform Party.
“Frankly, I think he offers the American people something refreshing and new,” Stone said.
Check out the complete interview above, courtesy of C-SPAN.
Sam Reisman (@thericeman) is a staff editor at Mediaite.
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