When Mark Penn took over as CEO of MDC Partners following an investment from his holding company Stagwell Group, it was inevitable the opinionated Trump defender would continue to provide his share of controversial opinions which might make MDC Partners agencies uncomfortable.
In the latest example of this tendency, Penn, er, penned an opinion column for The Hill earlier this week called “Free Roger Stone.” As the title suggests, Penn passionately defends the Trump associate/Nixon tattoo enthusiast/cartoon villain fashion icon Roger Stone, calling the case against him “nothing but a political prosecution” which “didn’t get much attention” until the president tweeted about it.
Penn also claimed to find the “hullabaloo” about Trump’s tweets overblown, calling them “nothing more than an expression of opinion” while preemptively noting that pardons for those “prosecuted for process crimes” in special investigations are not out of the ordinary.
So what does Penn think would be a fair reaction to Stone’s alleged crimes, given his view that their outcome was inconsequential? He believes that “any reasonable prosecutor” would either drop the charges or offer a sentence similar to the two weeks given to Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents.
Expressing an uncanny ability to channel long-dead white men, Penn also claims, “The principal concern of the country’s Founders was that people not be railroaded by runaway prosecutions and public fury.”
While you would be excused for assuming otherwise by this point, Penn does express near the column’s conclusion that he is “no fan of Stone’s tactics and history.” If we were editing this one, we’d probably suggest moving that a bit higher up.
Penn ends the piece with another head-scratcher, with a bizarre suggestion that the president’s love for Twitter wouldn’t exist if he didn’t have to turn to the platform to register his displeasure at such “political prosecutions,” ignoring the fact that Trump’s Twitter rants precede his presidency as well as his propensity to offer such rambling criticisms outside of the platform.
Yesterday, Stone was sentenced to over three years in prison, so we can undoubtedly expect more tweets on the topic.
Stay tuned for Penn’s next opinion column defending the Houston Astros.