The New York Young Republican Club traditionally has its hands full—Antifa, crime, the godless city. Two weeks ago, the group held a panel on drag queens in which a speaker declared, “This is a war. You can’t rest on these demons. They’re after our kids!” But that doesn’t mean a conservative can’t cut loose. There are galas, parties, soirées. “A by-product of the club is several romances have blossomed between members, some even leading to marriage,” the Epoch Times, the newspaper of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, reported recently. The other day, an invitation arrived announcing the latest social, at a speakeasy in Little Italy. “Martinis with Roger Stone!” it read. The Republican operative and ex-con (Trump pardoned him in 2020) would be divulging Richard Nixon’s secret recipe. It went on, “You won’t want to miss the Russia vs. Ukraine burlesque dance battle.” Who could argue?
Stone arrived in his Willy Wonka-goes-Ivy League look: polka-dotted suspenders, shirt with thick blue pinstripes, French cuffs. His face had a plasticky sheen. He made his way to the d.j. booth and grabbed a mike.
“This was first poured for me on Sixty-fifth Street, at former President Nixon’s home,” Stone said, of the Martini recipe. “That’s when I first learned that it was highly probable that President Lyndon Baines Johnson had a heavy hand in the assassination of President John Kennedy.” Stone continued with some words about Tucker Carlson (“a man of enormous integrity and courage”) and a sweeping legal disclaimer (“Any claim, assertion, inference that I knew in advance about, participated in, or condoned any illegal act on January 6th or any other day is categorically false”). As for the Martini, he said it should be shaken vigorously enough that ice shards appear atop the glass. But what about the rest of the recipe? Further inquiry was required.
Stone headed to the bar to get shaking. Men in suits with Russian-flag lapel pins jockeyed for position. The place was packed. Luminaries circulated as best they could. Martin Shkreli, the guy known as Pharma Bro, who served time for securities fraud, posed for photos. Dasha Nekrasova and Anna Khachiyan, the kind-of socialists who host the podcast “Red Scare”—the pair were billed on the invitation as “special guests”—took the mike and shouted, “Let’s go, Brandon!” Others networked. (“What do you do?” “I’m a director of operations for Congressman Santos.” “Oh.”)
Those who reached the bar, which was decorated with bordello lampshades, cheetah-print wallpaper, and a poster that said “STOP NATO’S WORLD WAR,” were rewarded with a Nixon Martini. The recipe? “You soak the olives in the vermouth and you drop them straight in,” Stone said. “Nothing more needed.”
Had he ever had a Martini with Joe Biden? “He probably gets a pitcher and stirs,” Stone said.
The mood was buoyant. The burlesque dancers burlesqued. (Who won? “We all win,” a dancer in Ukrainian-flag-colored lingerie reported.) Someone put on a Biden mask and aped around. Three d.j.s, who called themselves “Chinese Spy Balloon,” “Non-Non-Binary,” and “Jeff,” spun tunes.
Stone, done tending bar, retreated to a table on the back patio. He smoked a cigar and looked bored. Nekrasova, the podcaster, wearing a military-cut olive-drab suit, sat beside him. She shouted, “We need cigarettes! Does anyone here have a fucking cigarette?”
A club officer sitting across the table, with neatly parted hair and a silver cross necklace, leaned toward her. “I have my own traditional Catholic crew in New York,” he said. “When I read in the Times that there are some Catholics in Dimes Square, I went on a three-week odyssey, going to different restaurants and bars, trying to figure out: where are these people? And someone said, ‘You’re looking for Dasha.’ Apparently, I was looking for you.”
Nekrasova rolled her eyes. “I am not a traditional Catholic,” she said. “I’m a Slovak Ruthenian Greek Orth in the Byzantine rites.”
“I’ll take it!” he said.
“Francis is not the real Pope, we all know it,” Nekrasova said. “You’re not gonna get rid of the Freemasons. You’re not gonna get rid of the Jews. They infiltrated the Church a long time ago.”
“This is the worst place to have a complex theological discussion,” the man said. “But I love that I finally met you.”
“I don’t care!” Nekrasova said.
“I’m trying to be hospitable.”
“Almost everyone here is going to Hell.”
The man replied, “I can agree with that, actually.” ♦
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