Rick Wilson continues to build his reputation as the vilest creep in liberal talking-head land.
A regular guest on MSNBC, Wilson, co-founder of the disgraced Lincoln Project, appeared Sunday on Katie Phang's show. The segment was devoted to tearing down Mike Pence and his presidential ambitions.
At one point, Wilson said:
"Mike Pence is one notch short of stoning gays."
Of course, Wilson was not required by MSNBC to offer any evidence in support of his loathsome accusation. It's all good fun on a Sunday morning.
Perhaps the most well-known gay person in politics is Pete Buttigieg. Back in 2015, shortly after Buttigieg announced that he was gay, Pence said of him:
"I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. We have a great working relationship. I see him as a dedicated public servant, and a patriot."
Such a hater, that Pence!
And whereas Pence has displayed no violent tendencies, Wilson has frequently indulged a variety of violent fantasies.
Back in 2019, we caught the ghoulish Wilson advising Democrats to up the Trump administration "body count," while encouraging Dems to inflict a "death of 1,000 cuts," and to "raise the pain level."
More recently, Wilson offered a particularly gruesome metaphor, saying that in a debate, Trump would "tear Ron DeSantis's head off and kick it around like a soccer ball."
A penchant for violence, at least in rhetoric, wasn't Wilson's only form of hypocrisy when it came to Pence. Speaking with Phang, Wilson claimed that Pence "believes in nothing."
This from a guy who, defending a campaign ad he devised against Dem Sen. Max Cleland, a disabled Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Silver Star, that questioned Cleland's patriotism, said:
"I have no moral center when it comes to political ads, and I will destroy the innocent and the guilty."
And 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.
So please, Wilson, spare us your piety about people who supposedly don't believe in anything.
Note: Phang began the segment by rolling video of a heckler hurling obscenities at Pence during an Iowa campaign event. Phang identified the heckler as "a Republican voter." But as can be seen in the video, the heckler was not in attendance at the Pence event. Rather, he took advantage of an open doorway to shout his insults.
And the guy told Pence to leave Iowa and the US because "we don't want your Christian, fascist BS." That's the kind of rhetoric you'd expect from Wilson's crowd, not from a Republican.
But even that is not as ridiculous as Phang still introducing Wilson as a "Republican media strategist." Even he doesn't claim that anymore. He's a sleazy independent.
On Katie Phang's show, Rick Wilson saying that Mike Pence is "one notch short of stoning gays" was sponsored in part by T-Mobile, GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Voltaren, CVS, Safelite, and Procter & Gamble, maker of Swiffer.
Here's the transcript.
The Katie Phang Show
8:30 am EDT
KATIE PHANG: During a campaign stop in Iowa last Tuesday, here's what one voter had to say about Pence's Christian agenda.
HECKLER: Mike Pence, nobody wants your Christian fascist BS anymore. Leave, and get the f out of our country, and get the F out of Iowa.
MIKE PENCE: I'll put him down as a maybe.
PHANG: Ah, bless his heart. Rick Wilson, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, Republican media strategist, and the author of Running Against the Devil, joins us now for our latest installment of, I'm just not that into you, either.
Rick, as you heard in that soundbite, a Republican voter telling Mike Pence, we don't want your Christian fascist bs. So, why is America just not that into Pence?
RICK WILSON: There's a lot of reasons. One is, Mike Pence only represents a narrow slice, even in the old Republican party. It is just a social conservative, in your bedroom, in your business, part of the social conservative movement.
. . .
PHANG: Is Pence appealing to a demographic that no longer needs him though, right? Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Trump's opened the floodgates to the free flow of racism, xenophobia, and hatred. I mean, they don't have to pretend anymore that they're good, God-fearing folks, right?
WILSON: No, not at all. Look, if you want to look at other Republican governors and leaders who are both in the party, in this contest, and outside of it, they are now going to dismantle gay marriage with Obergefell. They're gonna challenge, they're gonna start rolling back birth control. These people always tell you what they will do, and they're moving forward on it.
And they don't need Mike Pence to sort of couch it in the sort of piety of the past. They don't need Mike Pence to pretend to be this kind of avuncular conservative guy, who just wants the best for babies. Because he doesn't. This is a man whose time has passed. This is a man who believes in nothing.
. . .
PHANG: When I knew you were gonna be on be for this particular segment, I just kind of chuckled. Pence saying, he would consider a woman for Vice President. And before we start waving our feminist flags about that, but that he would not dine alone with her, due to a promise he made to his wife when he was first elected to Congress.
I mean, Rick, with all respect, right, is this just proof of how out of touch Mike Pence is with modern-day Americans?
WILSON: This is, this is even like a Victorian sensibility, it's, it's a sensibility from the Middle Ages. I mean, the guy, the guy has not, he is not in touch with American society in any way.
And look, Mike Pence was always a failure. The guy failed up over and over again. He was a terrible congressman. In his first campaign, he got caught paying his own mortgage out of his campaign funds. He became a failed radio talk show host.
But he had a certain niche inside the old party of being the so-con [social conservative] guy who was always gonna be able to go out further to the right than anybody else.
I mean, Mike Pence is one, is one notch short of stoning gays, in his, in his position in social conservative matters. And so, I worry that anybody gives the guy the time of day.
But the polling is showing us where he's at. It's in the basement, digging lower. I mean, Mike Pence isn't even getting the the little mini-bump everyone else has been getting in this campaign, where, where the non-Trump Republicans look at somebody for five minutes. You know, even Ramaswamy had two minutes of glory.
Mike Pence has none. He is, he is a dead brand, a spent force, and a guy who's gonna come in fifth or sixth in Iowa. And that'll be that. That's the end of the ball game.
PHANG: Rick, you're giving him some credit. You were on the show in February,you've been on since then. But in February we asked where Mike Pence was going to come in, and you said he's gonna come in 18th place in a race of 15.
WILSON: Yeah, but they're narrowing the field, Katie. Whatever's last is probably where Mike Pence lands.
PHANG: I quoted Ricky Bobby last week from Talledega Nights: if you ain't first, you're last.
WILSON: If you ain't first, you're last.
PHANG: Rick Wilson, that's right. Shake and bake. Rick Wilson, thanks for being here, as always.