If Stone had been given, say, a 10-minute warning, the man who has a website called “Stone on Style,” which identifies him as the men’s fashion correspondent for the Daily Caller and who regularly issues his own international best-dressed list — this man would likely not have appeared outside a Fort Lauderdale courthouse wearing jeans and a blue Polo shirt that was more than a tad too short when he raised his hands in a Nixonian victory salute.
For all the calm Stone exuded at the microphone as he fielded questions from the media about his role in the 2016 election and despite his repeated declarations that he would not “bear false witness” against his longtime friend, President Trump, Stone looked off his game. He looked a little messy. Not by the standards of regular folks. Not even by the standards of some laid-back fashion hipster. But based on the public image that he has taken great care to nurture, Roger was a mess.
Of course, when the FBI comes banging on your door before daybreak, a man must grab whatever is near unless he wants to be marched onto his front yard in his pajamas. There is no time for a bespoke suit, a pair of braces, a spread-collar shirt. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III denied Stone his fashion armor. He took away Stone’s jaunty swagger. Cruel, cruel Mueller.
Stone has style, which is to say that he is a distinctive dresser with an attention to detail: the pocket square, the designer carryall, the dramatic eyewear, the studied lack of socks. He’s not strutting about in the latest trendy suit silhouette. As far as the visual record goes, there do not appear to be any ostrich jackets in his wardrobe. His style doesn’t scream money as much as it announces knowledge. One may not like the way he dresses, but even to a naysayer, it’s clear that Stone values power, flair and showmanship. That’s his currency — his political superpower. His style is his thumbnail curriculum vitae, which includes work for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and building a lobbying business with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
But when he stood in front of the cameras answering questions related to the charges against him, Stone had been stripped of his panache. His superpowers snuffed. Mueller had the upper hand. And Stone was just a guy in a standard suburban uniform, insisting that he didn’t do anything wrong at all.