The Slatest

Who Wore the Victory Pose Better: Roger Stone or Richard Nixon?

Roger Stone, wearing a navy-blue polo shirt, holds both arms in the air, making the two-finger peace sign with each hand.
Roger Stone.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Total weirdo and Trump adviser Roger Stone has been indicted in the special counsel’s probe into election interference on counts of obstruction, false statements, and witness tampering. After the FBI arrested him at his home in a pre-dawn raid, Stone arranged for his release on a personal assurance bond in a federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday. As you can see in the photo above, he then exited the courthouse in a blaze of audacity.

Stone’s gesture was a clear visual reference to his old boss, Richard Nixon, whose face is permanently inked between Stone’s shoulder blades. Nixon did the double-peace-sign thing all over the place, from campaign appearances to his last moment on the White House lawn, raising his arms after resigning the presidency as he made his getaway in a helicopter:

Richard Nixon smiles as he stands in the door of a helicopter. Members of the military in uniform stand in front of him.
Richard Nixon.
Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

It’s not a pose you see much in contemporary politics—few people are willing to align themselves with the least popular president in modern history—so you’ve got to give Stone credit for the ingenuity he showed in resurrecting this early-’70s lewk. But how does the imitator hold up to the O.G.?

Let’s review the main components of the gesture:

Wingspan. Both men have an impressive reach, one that’s at least as long as the trails of evidence connecting them to their respective political conspiracies. Nixon had a history of occasionally relaxing his arms a bit, welcoming his audiences into a rhetorical embrace, while Stone looks like he’s overextending his elbows. Too thirsty! Nixon wins.

Posture. Stone looks relaxed and confident, as if he flung his arms into a V without any forethought. Nixon was usually far more stiff and calculated, the shoulders of his suit jackets riding up with a look of extreme tension only a public figure with criminal behavior to hide could manage. Not the kind of guy you’d believe in court! Stone wins.

Expression. Stone’s face is set in an expression of righteous determination, the air of a highly tanned white guy who’s never met a tight spot he couldn’t wriggle out of. If I were an alien who’d arrived on Earth today without having access to cable news on my spacecraft, I’d say Stone had been wrongly persecuted for arranging a sit-in at a mercenary training facility or a bakery that won’t make gay cakes. (Aliens know all about gay cakes.) Meanwhile, Nixon rarely released his jowls from a nervous, uncomfortable grimace. The opposite of a smize! Stone wins.

Hubris. This one’s a toughie. Appearing at federal court for a bail hearing in a rumpled polo shirt and mimicking a known slimeball on your way out is pretty damn bold. But exiting the White House in shame—after you’ve been exposed as a paranoid criminal and chased out of your job—with your signature “victory” power pose is top-of-the-line chutzpah. It’s also wonderfully sad. Nixon wins.

Verdict. It’s a draw! In cases of a “Who Wore It Better?” tie, the win goes to the guy who didn’t help Donald Trump get elected president. Congratulations, Tricky Dick!