A photograph purportedly showing Roger Stone — an American political consultant known for spreading various far-fetched political conspiracy theories — with a tattoo of former President Richard Nixon on his back has been circulating online for several years:
The image received renewed attention in March 2017, when it was mentioned in a New York Times article about the longtime GOP operative and his possible ties to Russia:
In President Trump’s oft-changing world order, Roger J. Stone Jr., the onetime political consultant and full-time provocateur, has been one of the few constants — a loyalist and self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” who nurtured the dream of a presidential run by the developer-turned-television-star for 30 years.
But two months into the Trump presidency, Mr. Stone, known for his pinstripe suits, the Nixon tattoo spanning his shoulder blades, and decades of outlandish statements, is under investigation for what would be his dirtiest trick — colluding with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton and put his friend in the White House.
The picture is real and was captured by photographer Platon and was featured for a profile of the GOP operative published by The New Yorker in 2008:
Although Stone shares many of Nixon’s resentments, his own tastes have always tended to more Rabelaisian pleasures than “champagne music” and Salisbury steak. Not long ago, Stone went to the Ink Monkey tattoo shop in Venice Beach and had a portrait of Nixon’s face applied to his back, right below the neck. “Women love it,” Stone said.
A second image of Stone’s tattoo also frequently circulates on social media:
This latter photograph was originally published in an October 2016 Newsweek profile of Stone, which reporter Nina Burleigh acknowledged she had wanted to undertake give her a chance to photograph his infamous tattoo:
Stone has honed his black-arts legend for 40 years. A notorious dandy in bespoke suits and two-tone suede spectator shoes, the 64-year-old is as proud of his hair plugs and body-builder physique as he is of his vast, expensive tie collection. He also boasts something else that, I must admit, gave me a moderately unprofessional and ridiculously juvenile reason for wanting to meet the man behind the legend. I badly wanted to get him to remove his shirt so I could photograph the tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back.
He has boasted that the tattoo is a hit with the ladies. “You’ll never meet another man with a dick in the front and a dick in the back,” he offered, as we descended the stairs and rounded the corner to a local diner.
Stone also confirmed that the tattoo was real in a Twitter post:
— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) February 16, 2017
Although Roger Stone’s Richard Nixon tattoo may be well-known in some circles, those unfamiliar with the political consultant are usually surprised to find out that he has the face of the 37th president tattooed on his back. Stone told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that he admired Nixon’s resilience and that the tattoo was a daily reminder that “when you get knocked down, when things don`t go your way, when you`re defeated, you got to get up and fight again. It`s simply that.”
Haberman, Maggie. “Roger Stone, The ‘Trickster’ on Trump’s Side, Is Under F.B.I. Scrutiny.”
The New York Times. 21 March 2017.
Toobin, Jeffrey. “The Dirty Trickster.”
The New Yorker. 2 June 2008.
Burleigh, Nina. “A Revealing Lunch with Roger Stone.”
Newsweek. 24 October 2016.