Backroom briefing: Skewering Trump, Selling Books

By Jim Turner and Lloyd Dunkelberger
Weekly political notes from The News Service of Florida—

Mixed reviews are in for Tallahassee’s number-one “Never Trumper” — Rick Wilson, who has a new book, “Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever.”

Regardless of what the critics say, the book is selling.

“Everything Trump” stood in third place on Amazon’s top-seller list Thursday, snug between “Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Wilson’s book is marketed as, “A respected, long-time Republican strategist, ad-maker, and contributor for The Daily Beast, skewers the disease that is destroying the conservative movement and burning down the GOP: Trumpism.”

Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke said the book “does what no squishy liberal newspaper columnist like myself can do: It pushes the modern-day Republican Party into the public square and roundly shames it for allowing an obvious con man like Trump to become its standard-bearer.”

Meanwhile, Tim Mak of NPR said Wilson’s story of a Republican Party shift toward Trumpism is conveyed in “a biting, over-the-top writing style,” that is more of “a rant at those who have disappointed him.”

“In 300-plus pages, he uses sarcasm and invective to let you know just how betrayed he feels — and lists his many grievances,” Mak said. “But if you’ve been following the Trump presidency with any interest, you can read every last page and not learn anything new.

“Instead, you’re told how righteously angry he is — angry about how everyone from the evangelical right, to House Speaker Paul Ryan, to former RNC chairman Reince Priebus, to lobbyists, to big dollar Republican donors have genuflected to Trumpism and the man himself. All are sellouts, either cynical opportunists or too cowardly to stand up to Trump — or both.”

Scorched in the book as being among the “opportunists in the House Trump camp,” Congressman Matt Gaetz, a Northwest Florida Republican, tweeted to the Tampa Bay Times that a correction was needed in the book: “Minor fact check — I was elected at 27, not 22.”

Rick Wilson has been a close friend for the past five years and was a frequent guest on “Pensacola Speaks” and “In Your Head Radio.”