Veteran GOP political operative and proudly self-admitted "dirty trickster" Roger Stone tells Reason that libertarians should vote for Donald Trump, primarily because the alternative is Hillary Clinton, but also because (according to Stone) the GOP's presumptive nominee is anti-drug war and pro-LGBT rights.
The man Trump once described to the New Yorker as called a "stone-cold loser" who "always tries taking credit for things he never did" is now one of Trump's staunchest defenders despite having left his official role in the campaign in the summer of 2015.
In an interview in the Republican National Convention (RNC)'s media filing room within Cleveland's Huntington Convention Center, Stone conceded that Donald Trump is "not a pure libertarian, but he has some libertarian instincts." Stone cited Trump's "enormous skepticism about the war on drugs," which he said, "is an abysmal expensive failure." Stone added, "I'm a Nixon guy and this was a Nixon policy" but that it was "Nixon's greatest mistake."
Stone suggested that Trump would audit the federal reserve and credited him with having a "more friendly attitude toward the LGBT community" than any of his Republican primary rivals.
When asked about Trump's hostility to free trade agreements, Stone insisted Trump is pro-free trade but that deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are misnomers. "They call [NAFTA] free trade, but that's bullshit," Stone said.
Of the libertarians who are more inclined to vote for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson than Trump, Stone professed "huge affection for Gary Johnson," but insisted that "if you are for radical reform, which is the Johnson message, radical reform can come in the form of Donald Trump." Stone also says he "has a high regard for" the Libertarian vice presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, "even though he supported the Iraq War and the Patriot Act."
Though Trump has tried to have it both ways when it comes to his supposed reluctance for military interventionism, Stone lays the blame for the rise of ISIS (which he describes as "an imminent threat") on the foreign policies former President George W. Bush ("Bush's policies created ISIS") and Hillary Clinton ("Clinton's policies armed ISIS"). Stone thinks Trump would use "all this extremely expensive technology we pay for," such as drones, before he resorted to sending troops to the region.
"I'm a libertarian," Stone says, "but I'm not an isolationist, I'm a non-interventionist. I do believe that we have vital national interests and I'm not naive. There are people around the world who want to fuck us, and you have to deal with that. But I do think Trump would ask, 'What is the inherent interest of America?' before we go marching off to war. The Bushes certainly never did that."
Reason asked Stone how he squares what he describes as Trump's "friendliness" to the gay community with the official GOP platform which still opposes gay marriage. Stone replied, "platforms are an anachronism," citing previous GOP platforms which vowed that the US would never abandon the gold standard or officially recognize Red China. Stone says Trump, or any nominee, is not required to not be bound by their party's "meaningless" platforms.