The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi explained that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign strategy against Hillary Clinton is based on “conspiracy scrapbook[s]” written by discredited, “fabulist” authors and Trump acquaintances like Roger Stone, Robert Morrow, and Ed Klein.
Donald Trump’s “obsession” with disgraced conspiracy theories has been well documented, with Nuzzi spotlighting Trump’s acquaintances with Roger Stone, Robert Morrow, and Ed Klein. Stone is a plagiarist known for regularly spouting violent, racist, and sexist rhetoric, including calling Hillary Clinton a “cunt” and advocating her execution. Together, Stone and Robert Morrow dedicated a book they wrote to a Holocaust denier who blames Jews for the 9/11 attacks. And Morrow has written bizarre sexual fantasies about Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, and has wished death on Hillary. Additionally, Ed Klein, with whom Trump recently dined, writes discredited “fan fiction” about the Clintons which has been slammed by journalists from across the political spectrum as “smut”, “sewage”, and “junk journalism.”
In her May 13 article, Nuzzi explained that the discredited authors have “intentionally or not … written the foundational texts” for Trump’s case against Clinton, adding that these conspiracy theories have helped Trump change the narrative of the GOP primary:
Political observers have generally fared poorly over the last year when making predictions about the election, but I’d bet my muumuu that Trump takes the insights he gleans from the curriculum produced by Stone, Morrow, and Klein to a cable chyron near you—and sometime before the July conventions. He’s already started. Last week, Trump criticized Clinton for being a “nasty, mean enabler” of her husband’s affairs—a page, literally, out of the doctrine.
Stone, 64, is the white-haired, body-building, fashion-obsessed, sex-club-visiting former aide to Richard Nixon with a portrait of Nixon’s face tattooed between his shoulderblades.
Stone was introduced to Trump in the 1970s by Roy Cohn, Senator Joe McCarthy’s legal counsel, who mentored Trump politically. Stone remained in Trump’s orbit over the decades, advising him informally, before joining his presidential campaign in 2015. He left in August amid staff infighting (he butted heads, in particular, with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski), but he returned to the inner circle when Trump hired Paul Manafort, who’d been his partner at Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, a lobbying firm in D.C. that they started in the early 1980s.
Morrow, 51, is a towering and disheveled presence who dresses like a math teacher who’s fallen on hard times.
He lives in Austin, Texas and serves, much to the ire of the Travis County GOP, as the chairman of the Travis County GOP. He survives on an inheritance, and when he’s not rating anime porn on a scale of 1 to 10 on Twitter, he devotes his every waking moment to uncovering and perpetuating information—most of it highly questionable, to put it politely—about public officials.
Unlike Stone and Morrow, Klein’s… eccentricities… aren’t apparent on the surface. He doesn’t have a Twitter account where he ranks anime “boobies” like Morrow and he’s never posed for a photoshoot dressed up as the Joker from Batman like Stone. Without reading any of his work, you might think Klein is your average veteran reporter. Just a nice 79-year-old guy with a friendly demeanor on the phone, probably somebody’s grandpa.
Unless Klein wired his sources and his sources were Bill and Hillary Clinton, none of this is likely to be even kind of true. It’s possible Klein is a fabulist, or it’s possible he has terrible sources. It’s also possible that he’s a looney toon and the multiple sources he’s interviewed upwards of 70 times each are all in his head.
Who’s to say? If I were Ed Klein I might say I know that last thing for a fact.
I’ve written extensively about the possibility that Trump is a conspiracy theorist, and I maintain that’s likely. But likely, too, is the possibility that Trump is merely savvy.
It was just as voters were taking to the polls in Indiana—which had been perceived, a few days before the primary, as a competitive state for Ted Cruz—that Trump went on Fox News to ask why nobody was paying attention to a National Enquirer story alleging Cruz’s dad had been with Lee Harvey Oswald just before the JFK assassination.
And just like that, the narrative in the media changed from, Can Cruz Win Indiana? to Donald Trump Connects Cruz’s Dad to JFK Assassination.
Who knows if Trump believed any of it, and who cares? It worked. Cruz dropped out of the race a few hours later, making Trump, effectively, the Republican nominee.
For the general, Trump has more than just one tabloid story to knockout his opponent. He’s got an entire library’s worth of poorly-written ammo.
And his three horsemen are more than willing to assist.