There are the people whom Donald Trump attacks because he’s vaguely scared of them. There are quite a lot of people who fit that description, in fact. But there are only a very small number of people – in fact small enough to count on one hand – who truly scare Trump. Those are the ones he doesn’t even dare attack, or belittle, or even give nicknames to in public.
Nancy Pelosi is one of them. We were reminded of this a few days ago when Donald Trump was briefly tempted to hit her with a derisive nickname before catching himself, and ended up saying “Nancy Pelosi – or Nancy, as I call her.” Vladimir Putin is another one, for obvious reasons. Michael Flynn is definitely one, as evidenced by the fact that Trump still didn’t attack him after he cut a plea deal; this is presumably because Flynn is such a made-man with the Kremlin. Then there’s Roger Stone.
It’s fairly easy to figure out why Donald Trump fears Roger Stone so much. They have a personal friendship that goes back forty years or more. By Stone’s own admission, he’s always surrounded himself with shady and colorful characters, to put it mildly. It’s not a stretch to picture Trump having partaken in some of the seedier aspects of his friend Stone’s life along the way. And because Stone is the kind of sociopath who amasses dirt on everyone, even his friends, it’s easy to parse that Stone is sitting on the kind of dirt that could humiliate and/or destroy Trump.
Now Roger Stone is in a position where he’ll have to cut a plea deal against Donald Trump, and give up everything he knows, if he wants to avoid a de facto life sentence in prison. What will Stone do? We’ll see. But right now Trump has got to be quaking in his boots, because Stone truly scares the crap out of him, in a way that very few people do.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report