New York Times reporter says Trump is too afraid of former aide Roger Stone to publicly attack him

Roger Stone speaks to the media at Trump Tower on December 6, 2016 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Roger Stone, President Donald Trump’s longtime political adviser, seems to be one aide Trump might be too afraid to publicly attack.
  • Stone recently said to The New York Times that Trump treats his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, “like garbage.”

President Donald Trump has never seemed to hesitate to attack someone who draws his ire.

But Roger Stone, who has served as Trump’s longtime political adviser, is one aide who appears to be immune from any public attacks from the president.

On Friday, The New York Times reported that Trump has treated poorly his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, with insults and threats of being fired.

The story incited a tweetstorm from the president on Saturday morning, saying that The New York Times was “trying to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me.”

He continued: “They use non-existent ‘sources’ and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael.”

Given the lack of clarity about who the president was referring to as a “drunk/drugged up loser,” rumours began to swirl as to who Trump could be talking about, considering that The Times story quoted two of Trump’s former aides.

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman pointed to former Trump aide Sam Nunberg on Twitter. “A few things – Trump is referring to @NunbergSam in his tweet. He’s too aware of what Stone could do to him to be that direct. Also, Trump has been abusive to all his staffers at various points, but continues to greet @CLewandowski_ better than most”, Haberman tweeted on Saturday.

And Trump’s mention of a “drunk … loser” is likely a reference to last month when Nunberg reportedly was drunk during a number of television interviews.

Former US Attorney Preet Bharara, who was famously fired by Trump in 2017, responded to Haberman’s tweet by saying “Donald Trump is afraid of Roger Stone?” Haberman responded to Bharara with, “For years.”

But the apparent attack on Nunberg says less about him and more about how Trump views Stone, according to Haberman.

Stone is the other Trump confidant who is directly quoted in the story, and he does not pull any punches.

“Donald goes out of his way to treat him like garbage,” Stone told The Times of Cohen.

The story also details Stone recalling Trump once saying that Cohen paid “top dollar” for Trump real estate, which is considered a devastating insult in Trump’s orbit.

Nunberg, on the other hand, told The Times, “Ironically, Michael now holds the leverage over Trump” and that Trump’s attorney “should maximise” that leverage.

“The softer side of the president genuinely has an affection for Michael,” Nunberg told The Times. “However, the president has also taken Michael for granted.”

Nunberg also said that no person has more reason to complain about Trump than Cohen.

Both Nunberg and Stone denied that the tweet was directed towards them. Stone told the Palm Beach Post that Trump’s tweet was “not a reference to” him.

“I have no idea who POTUS is talking about so I have no response,” Nunberg said to Abby Phillip of CNN.

Haberman said that Trump is afraid of what Stone could do to him if he were to directly attack his longest-serving political adviser in public. A lifelong Republican strategist and consultant, Stone is notorious for playing dirty political tricks to help out his clients and candidates.

Stone said to the Washington Examiner that Trump “has no reason to be afraid of me – I am his most loyal supporter.”