We all know the genre. Weaponized patriot goes rogue.
Tossed into a white van as a teen, sequestered in a government training center, he emerges years later a trained killer. He’s brilliant and ruthless; the one you call when all else fails. But something goes wrong. The specialized warrior sees something he shouldn’t have. It makes him question everyone and everything he’s trusted. Now he’s angry, and turning his rapier skills on the organization he once called “mother.”
Meet Rick Wilson, the real-life Republican special forces operative waging war on his former handlers. If you like a good political thriller, strap in.
Wilson’s new book, “Everything Trump Touches Dies,” is a slaughter of the Trumpified Republican establishment. No one was more loyal to the GOP cause than Wilson pre-Trump. But The Donald’s brand of angry, brainless populism, swallowed hook, line and sinker by people who should have known better or who simply caved, was too much for the notorious conservative admaker.
A half dozen pages into his semi-confessional indictment, “Everything Trump Touches Dies” already feels like a 72-0 halftime romp. No one is spared. Not the “Vichy” Republicans, not the liberal Democrats he’s skewered, not the news media, lobbyists or donor class. It’s a classic Wilson scorched-earth production.
I met Rick in 1990s NYC. He was commuting from Tallahassee to make ads for Rudy Giuliani. It was clear in an instant that his bulb burns brighter than most. He’s got the elite historical insights of a Northeast academic and the colorful expressions of a good ol’ boy. The combo is killer. If you’ve ever seen Wilson on TV you’ll have some sense of how hilariously, or infuriatingly, caustic he can be.
“Everything Trump Touches Dies” is Wilson’s battle cry. It’s his flag in the ground to cajole or humiliate conservatives into breaking from the reckless asininity of “Cheeto Jesus,” one of his pet names for Trump. His book feels like the opening salvo of a conservative counteroffensive I’d join in a heartbeat.
“The victories Republicans think they have a achieved are transitory and ephemeral and come at the cost of their principles and, probably, their immortal souls,” Wilson writes. “[Trump] is a stain on the party, on conservatism, and on this country that won’t easily wash out.”
Amen, brother. Amen.
William F. B. O’Reilly is a consultant to Republicans.