Robert Morrow has tried for years to draw attention to his “alternative histories” on the Bush family, the Clintons, Rick Perry, Karl Rove, Lyndon B. Johnson and a host of other major political figures he says are murderers, pedophiles and gangsters.
He frequently called and emailed traditional media outlets, including the American-Statesman, to sell his version of history. He posted constantly on social media and blogs. He evangelized to strangers he met while hiking. He took out an ad in the Austin Chronicle. He even co-authored a book on the Clintons with Roger Stone, a confidant of Donald Trump and veteran GOP political strategist.
Despite Morrow’s enormous efforts and the occasional story about him, he made little headway in convincing the world that Johnson had President John F. Kennedy assassinated, that some Texas Republican politicians had secret homosexual affairs or that the Clintons and Bushes have conspired in organized crime.
But on Tuesday, Morrow defeated Travis County Republican Party Chairman James Dickey, bringing national media attention to his vulgar, prejudiced and often bizarre writings online. It’s an opportunity that Morrow is determined not to waste.
“I’ve been emailing and talking to the Austin media for 10 years about all these topics, … and they all wanted to ignore Robert for 10 years,” said Morrow, who was interviewed Friday in his roughly $1 million home in Davenport Ranch off of Loop 360. “Now they all want to talk to me.”
Asked how a tweet he sent Thursday suggesting that former first lady Barbara Bush star in a pornographic movie spreads the word about his alternative histories, Morrow said his use of vulgarity and profanity online is a strategic choice.
“The inflammatory tweets are to get people’s attention and direct them to the truth and the reality of the criminal vermin who are running American politics,” he said. “It gets people’s attention, and they start reading the research that’s lying right before their eyes, the truth that the scumbags in the mainstream media will not tell you.”
Morrow, 51, never married and has no kids. He called himself a “self-employed investor” but declined to discuss his business ventures other than saying he has “income and assets.” The passion that takes up most of his time is political research and activism, he said.
A former high school basketball star and workout enthusiast, Morrow is tall and barrel-chested. He hobbles when he walks, he said, because years of intense weightlifting have deteriorated the cartilage in his knees.
His hair, which he combs forward so it forms a perfectly straight line of bangs across his forehead, has drawn attention online. Asked about it Friday, Morrow suggested, crudely, that people who care so much about his hair should instead pay attention to the size of another part of his anatomy.
Tuscaloosa to Texas
Morrow grew up in Tuscaloosa, Ala. His father owned a successful real estate company that his only sibling, David, now runs.
Morrow went to Princeton University, where he said he majored in history and had a 3.3 GPA, before getting a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas. After UT, Morrow moved back home for four years and worked for the family business. But he left the company, and Alabama, after a “conflict with certain people who were there, and either they’re going to go or I’m going to go, and that’s just the way it is.”
Having fallen in love with Austin during graduate school — “I could not believe when I got here how nice it was, how many beautiful girls were running around, how nice the University of Texas was” — Morrow returned in 1994 and eventually tried his hand at day trading.
That didn’t last long, he said, because it was “just too brutal of a way to make a living.”
Morrow owns a business called Morrow Ventures, Inc., but he said Friday that it has “very little economic activity.” He refused to answer further questions about his finances.
In the mid- to late 1990s, Morrow had a “volunteering phase” and worked with children in a variety of roles, including with the Court Appointed Special Advocates, Big Brothers Big Sisters and as a mentor at an Austin public school. Until about five years ago, he hosted an Easter egg hunt for his neighborhood, he said.
On the table in his living room, Morrow has a collection of children’s toys that he said are primarily for visitors, although he also plays with them.
“I have them because of fun. I like to have toys at my house. Well, a toy can be a toy for a child or it can be a toy for a 45-year-old woman or a 50-year-old man,” he said Thursday.
Morrow, who calls himself a “small-L libertarian,” hasn’t always been a Republican.
He volunteered for the 1988 presidential campaign of Democrat Michael Dukakis. In 1992, Morrow voted for the Libertarian Party presidential candidate. But since 1994, Morrow said, he has been voting for and supporting Republicans. In 2004, he got involved with Travis County GOP groups to support President George W. Bush’s re-election.
“I really have always been a libertarian, no matter what party I’m in,” he said. “Parties are just vehicles for political expression, and you get a bigger platform in the Republican Party.”
It was around the time he started working to support the Bush campaign that Morrow said he began researching the “corrupt vermin running both political parties.”
He has bought and read more than 1,000 books on American politicians, primarily the Bushes, Clintons and Johnson. When he heard that Stone, the GOP strategist, was writing a book about the Kennedy assassination, Morrow reached out and helped him research. Stone then encouraged him to write a book on the Clintons, Morrow said, and they ended up co-authoring “The Clintons’ War on Women” last year.
Trump has tweeted about the book, which has been widely criticized for inaccuracies, and has alluded to its claims when attacking Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. Morrow said he voted for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the presidential primary but wants the party to coalesce around Trump if Cruz doesn’t win.
Local Republicans are searching for ways to keep Morrow from assuming the county party chairmanship in June, but they have little legal recourse. If he does become chairman, Morrow said he doesn’t plan to disrupt the county party’s core functions, like running the primary, or lob accusations at local Republicans like he does national politicians.
“I supported Gerald Daugherty for county commissioner. I think he’s a nice man. I also support Don Zimmerman for Austin City Council. I think he’s a nice man,” Morrow said. “I’ve got my focus on Bushes, Clintons, the legacy of Lyndon Johnson and also any sexual hypocrite.”
Update: This story has been updated to clarify one of Morrow’s allegations.