Rick Wilson is the Republican media strategist who has found himself at the center of a 4Chan claim that he was duped into giving the CIA the unverified intelligence about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. The 4Chan users claim it was “fanfiction” passed to Wilson, who believed it was real and he passed it on to the CIA.
Wilson, who has made it clear that he does not support Trump and worked for Evan McMullin during the election, refutes these claims. “If you believe the Russian/4chan spin that this information came from them, you can’t use a calendar, or common sense,” Wilson wrote on Medium.
The 32-page unverified dossier was authored by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, the Wall Street Journal reports. Steele, who has a solid reputation in the intelligence world, now runs a London-based intelligence firm.
Here is a look at Wilson, his career and his position on Trump.
1. Wilson Calls Claims He Took the Memo to the CIA ‘Utterly, Entirely & Profoundly False’
After BuzzFeed published the unverified report that the Russians have information to use against Trump, a 4Chan user claimed that other users had mailed “fanfiction” to Wilson, who thought it was real and sent it to the CIA.
In response to this, Wilson posted a statement on his Medium blog, where he denied claims that he was BuzzFeed’s source for the documents. Wilson wrote:
If you believe the Russian/4chan spin that this information came from them, you can’t use a calendar, or common sense. This information on Trump’s various personal and business dealings in Russia was being pursued by major campaigns and by major media to my knowledge as early as late July of 2015, and the “Ritz Carlton” information was out in the summer of 2016.
The allegations I “took the memo to the CIA” (or caused others to do the same) are utterly, entirely, and profoundly false and risible.
2. Wilson Backed Evan McMullin During the 2016 Presidential Election
Wilson backed independent candidate Evan McMullin during the presidential election. It was thought that McMullin had a chance to win Utah, his home state, but he only received 21.3 percent of the vote there in the general election.
McMullin became the “Never Trump” candidate after Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois introduced him to Bill Kristol. The Washington Post reports that it was Kristol who got McMullin in contact with John Kinsington, Joel Searby and Wilson. They were all part of a group called Better For America, which aimed to unite people around a third party candidate to beat Trump and Hillary Clinton.
During the campaign, Wilson wrote several posts on McMullin’s website. In one campaign memo he posted, the McMullin campaign made the case for “dumping Trump,” even though it was nearly impossible at that point.
“Let’s be clear; Donald Trump’s ego, narcissism, and authoritarian tendencies have been fed by the roar of a hundred crowded rallies,” the memo read. “The spotlight is more addictive to Trump than any drug, and stepping back from the top of the ticket means Trump is a loser, left in the dark as Mike Pence takes the stage.”
3. Wilson Tweeted That Trump & His Team ‘Demonstrated Their Allegiance to Putin’
In December, after President Barack Obama imposed a new round of sanctions on Russia, Trump told reporters that it’s “time to move on” when it comes to the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Convention and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Wilson responded by firing off a series of tweets. In them, he said that Trump and his team showed that they are allied with Trump.
“Make no mistake; Trump and his lackeys, ball-washers and toadies today clearly demonstrated their allegiance is to Putin,” Wilson wrote. He later added, “RUS intel services and leadership wanted Trump, hacked to help Trump, and have deep ties to him and his team then you’re the ones flirting with disloyalty to the security of this country well beyond a political disagreement.”
“You believe in absurd, baroque conspiracy horseshit like Pizzagate, but can’t conceive RUS leaders could seek to disrupt an election?” Wilson asked Trump’s supporters, referencing the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy.
In a December 19 Daily Beast column, Wilson wrote that Trump would have Winston Churchill rolling in his grave because of his support for Russia.
“Like never in modern history, the incoming Trump team has made it clear they believe Putin’s Russia is an ally, not an adversary despite the obvious actions of a Russian government that has put American lives, values, and interests around the globe at risk. Putin’s U.S. allies, sympathizers, and fellow travelers may well be the Guilty Men in the new Cold War,” Wilson wrote.
4. Wilson Once Called Alt-Right Trump Supporters ‘Childless Single Men Who Masturbate to Anime’
Wilson is never one to mince words whenever he’s on television. For example, in a January 2016 appearance on MSNBC, he told Chris Hayes that most of Trump’s alt-right supporters were “Childless single men who masturbate to anime.”
In the above appearance on FRANCE24’s English station, Wilson said Trump is “gushing like a fangirl over Putin.”
“I do believe we’re in a situation right now where, for the good of the democracy and the good of the Republic, we really need to ask these questions, we need to look at this problem,” Wilson said in the FRANCE24 interview in December. “We need to determine what’s the level of motivation and why [Russia is] so motivated to support Donald Trump, what they’ve done and the fact of the matter is that the FBI is the one agency out of the 17 national intelligence services in the United States that is slow-rolling this.”
5. Wilson Once Got Into a Battle With Breitbart & Said His Daughter Received Rape Threats Because He’s Anti-Trump
During the presidential primary campaign, Wilson got into an ugly back-and-forth with Brietbart. In August 2014, he got into an argument with Brietbart Editor-In-Chief Alex Marlow, accusing the the site of supporting Trump. John Notle then wrote a critical op-ed of Wilson on Brietbart. (Trump later picked former Brietbart executive chair Steve Bannon to be his chief strategist in the White House.)
In response to Nolte’s op-ed, Wilson tweeted that his daughter received rape threats from Brietbart readers.
Ann Coulter then joked about it:
As Mediate reported at the time, Wilson responded to Coulter by asking, “Does Trump pay you more for anal?” Wilson later deleted the tweet.
In an interview with the New York times in March 2016, Wilson was asked why Trump inspire sexualized language in conversation.
“I think it’s this: Trump is crude because he’s a genius at reality television. He understands that the masses are trained to want drama,” Wilson told the Times. “These aren’t people who appreciate subtlety or rational discourse or, you know, arguments.”
In that same interview, Wilson, who has made plenty of attack ads in his career as a political consultant, was asked what kind of ad would hurt Trump have stopped Trump’s success in the primaries.
“What really hits Trump is when you prove to people that Trump isn’t for you — that Trump is about Trump,” Wilson explained. “You tell the story of the people he screwed over in bankruptcy after bankruptcy, paying pennies on the dollar to these small businesses that helped build his low-end casinos. You put some serious voltage behind it, and you start making Trump crazy. Because — this is the dirty little secret — Donald Trump is insane.”