In “Everything Trump Touches Dies,” Rick Wilson takes aim at the side of a barn and hits it. A founding member of the Never-Trump movement, Wilson has written a sarcastic, vitriolic, acerbic, acid-tinged, I’m-running-out-of-adjectives-that-mean-angry diatribe against Trump-world.
For those of you unfamiliar with Wilson’s style, it’s a jarring combination. He has an elitist’s unfiltered disdain for the Midwest, the South and anyone with less than a college education. He name drops obscure political insiders next to fancy-pants liquor brands. He defends uptight Washington society and its strangle-hold on government. He writes caustic, biting, hyperbolic prose with skill, but it’s not subtle or analytical. It’s an in your face, brawling, profane, wilting, diatribe of bitterness. Wilson’s prose stylings are what Trump would produce if he had a vocabulary and the chops to string together a coherent sentence.
The author makes three big points. First, Trump is awful. Second, Trump soils everything he touches. Finally, and (especially) there is a big, fat I-told-you-so from Wilson. As someone in the center, I have voted for folks from both parties both locally and nationally. Early in the 2016 GOP primary season, I too was on the “never Trump” team. I still am. Trump is an empty, celebrity gadfly. He is awful and corrupting. He diminishes and sullies everyone who comes in contact with him. As a consummate insecure narcissist, there’s only one star in his universe and it has an orange glow and a double chin.
Yet even though I agree with much of Wilson’s point of view, this entertaining, self-indulgent, snarky, book length diary-entry will change no minds. It’s written with little pretense of seriousness. NPR’s review states
The book has itself the intellectual rigor of a Comedy Central roast for Justin Bieber — and isn’t conscious of its own central irony: Though it calls for ascending to a higher plane, beyond Trump, it’s filled with empty insults.
That’s fair. It’s an anti-Trump book that bleats with Trumpian vitriol using bigger words. Not satisfied with being right, Wilson gleefully dishes that White House staffers who left the administration cannot find employment. He revels that Rex Tillerson and Jim Kelly have been completely disgraced. The entire administration is irredeemable.
Wilson admits to being a jerk – well and good. Acknowledging you have a problem is only the first step. Meanwhile, Having sunk the USS Trump and all souls on board, Wilson fails to offer much of a solution. One suspects that if Trump could articulate conservative principles instead of being an empty suit, Wilson would be hunky dorey with the egregious flaws in his character.
If you are a Democrat, liberal, progressive, or a conservative who thinks Trump is awful, this book will reinforce and harden your views. It’s shock jock entertainment in written form. But other than a fan-fiction vignette with Ivanka and a weird homo-erotic fantasy involving Sean Hannity, there is nothing new here.