Rick Wilson (political consultant)
Frederick George Wilson
November 21, 1963
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
|Education||George Washington University (BA)|
|Occupation||Author, political strategist and media consultant|
|Political party||Republican (before 2019) |
Frederick George "Rick" Wilson (born November 21, 1963) is an American political strategist, media consultant, and author based in Florida. A former member of the Republican Party, he has produced televised political commercials for governors, U.S. Senate candidates, Super PACs, and corporations.
Wilson was a frequent guest on political panel shows during the 2016 United States presidential election, where he denounced Donald Trump and his supporters. He was later a strategist for the Evan McMullin presidential campaign. Since Trump's election as president, Wilson has continued to be a critic. In 2018, Wilson released the bestselling Everything Trump Touches Dies.
Early life and education
Rick Wilson was born in Tampa, Florida, the son of an accountant and a housewife. According to Wilson, his parents were both "liberal Democrats" who later became Republicans. Wilson attended George Washington University.
Wilson entered the political arena by campaigning for Connie Mack during the 1988 Florida Senate election. Later, he served on George H. W. Bush's campaign as Florida field director. Wilson was also a presidential appointee to the Department of Defense under then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.
He left the Republican Party following the 2016 United States presidential election, and in late 2019 went on to co-found The Lincoln Project, a Super PAC organized by current and former Republicans opposed to and working to prevent the re-election of Donald Trump in the 2020 United States presidential election.
Wilson has written numerous opinion and analysis columns for publications such as The Daily Beast, Politico, The New York Daily News, The Federalist, The Independent Journal Review, and Ricochet, and is a frequent guest on various cable and network news outlets.
In 2018, Wilson released his first book, Everything Trump Touches Dies, in which he laments the re-alignment of the Republican Party behind Trump. The book reached number one on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list for a week. An audiobook read by Wilson was released alongside the print version.
Wilson's second book, entitled Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America from Trump – and Democrats from Themselves, was published in January 2020.
In 2012, Wilson posted to Instagram an image of a cooler emblazoned with a Confederate flag and the words "The South Shall Rise Again", prompting allegations of racism. After public backlash, Wilson eventually deleted the post. It resurfaced in 2020 while The Lincoln Project, a political consultancy Wilson founded, was airing television ads attacking the public display of the Confederate flag.
Wilson played a significant role in the 2002 United States Senate election in Georgia, in which Saxby Chambliss was facing Democratic Party Senator Max Cleland, a disabled Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Silver Star. Wilson helped make an ad that criticized Cleland, while also tying him to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. The ad appeared to question Cleland's patriotism. In an interview with HuffPost, Wilson stated that he thought that "DHS [Department of Homeland Security] was on the front line against Osama bin Laden". As Wilson reflected in 2016, "The Cleland ad was powerful because it went to his strengths [...] Everyone assumed Cleland was immune to critiques on national security issues. [...] they didn't calculate that I have no moral center when it comes to political ads, and I will destroy the innocent and the guilty." Following Cleland's death in 2021, Wilson received criticism from journalists such as Glenn Greenwald and Charlie Pierce.
In June 2020, Wilson tweeted a response to a 2012 Domino's Pizza tweet thanking White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, then a college student, for her opinion that Domino's pizza was superior to pizza from New York. In his tweet, Wilson declared, "You just killed your brand." This later prompted a response from Domino's Pizza's official Twitter account, saying "Welp. It's unfortunate that thanking a customer for a compliment back in 2012 would be viewed as political. Guess that's 2020 for ya." According to The Daily Dot, "Domino’s response immediately went viral"; however, it also credited Wilson for not deleting the tweet "despite the unrelenting onslaught of mockery" directed at him.
- Wilson, Rick (March 13, 2015). "@NJFiorvento My mother met JFK in Tampa on Nov 18th, 1963. I was born on the 21st". Twitter.
- "Rick Wilson". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
- "Rick Wilson: Donald Trump's Base Are Neo-Nazis and 'Frog Meme Idiots'". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
- Leary, Alex (January 28, 2018). "The loudest #NeverTrump voice is Florida Republican Rick Wilson". The Buzz (blog). Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
- Leary, Alex (July 22, 2020). "The loudest #NeverTrump voice is Florida Republican Rick Wilson". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
- Ball, Molly. "50 politicos to watch: Top tweeters". Politico.
- "Longtime Republican strategist Rick Wilson lays out his road map for the 2020 election in 'Running Against the Devil'". Seattle Times. July 15, 2020.
- Wilson, Rick. "Rick Wilson on about.me". about.me. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
- "Author Page Rick Wilson". thedailybeast.com. The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- "In 'Everything Trump Touches Dies,' Few Are Spared". NPR.org. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
- "Trump haters will love Rick Wilson's scathing new book, Everything Trump Touches Dies". August 7, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
- Huppke, Rex. "GOP strategist grinds Trump into hamburger in new book, 'Everything Trump Touches Dies'". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
- "Daily Beast Columnist Rick Wilson's Book Hits #1 on NYT Bestseller List". dailybeast.com. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
- Heffernan, Virginia, host. "A Hinky Feeling From The Trump GOP." Trumpcast, Slate, 19 Jan. 2020.
- "The New Abnormal on Apple Podcasts".
- Becker, Amanda (July 15, 2020). "The Group Behind Viral Anti-Trump Ads Wants to Win in November. Its Hyper-Masculine Approach Isn't Helping". Glamour. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
- Dougherty, Michael (June 17, 2020). "Is It Hypocrisy?". National Review. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
- Covucci, David (July 22, 2020). "Anti-Trump Lincoln Project team defended Darren Wilson, George Zimmerman". The Daily Dot. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
- "Anatomy of an attack ad". Center for Public Integrity.
- Athas, Peter Adrastos (October 30, 2019). "The Latest Smear Campaign".
- Stein, Sam (February 25, 2015). "Bitter Fights Over DHS Brought Down A Democrat In 2002. Could It Happen To The GOP In 2016?". HuffPost.
- Evans, Robert (October 18, 2016). "The Nasty Realities Of The Political Attack Ad Industry". Cracked.com. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
- Flood, Brian (June 16, 2020). "Domino's Pizza mocks Rick Wilson for politicizing Kayleigh McEnany's 2012 compliment: 'Guess that's 2020 for ya'". Fox News.
- Coleman, Justine (June 16, 2020). "Domino's dismisses criticism for 2012 tweet to White House press secretary". TheHill.
- Taylor, Kate. "'Guess that's 2020 for ya': Domino's responds to Twitter backlash over thanking a Trump staffer for a compliment 8 years ago". Business Insider.
- Thalen, Mikael (June 16, 2020). "Pundit tries to flame Domino's for replying to a tweet in 2012". The Daily Dot. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
- "About Rick Wilson – Rick Wilson". Retrieved June 4, 2021.