News and Commentary

CNN Favorite Rick Wilson To Melania Trump: ‘Be Infected’
First Lady Melania Trump visits the Children’s Inn at National Institutes of Health on Valentine’s Day on on February 14, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

On Wednesday, prominent anti-Trump pundit and frequent CNN guest Rick Wilson posted a tweet directed at First Lady Melania Trump with the hashtag “Be Infected,” a riff on Mrs. Trump’s anti-bullying “Be Best” campaign.

Reacting to a CNN report on Mrs. Trump being set to appear in coronavirus-related public service announcements, Wilson wrote, “#BeInfected.”

Wilson’s apparent wish to have Mrs. Trump infected with the China-originated virus received quick backlash online, from folks across the political spectrum.

“People are really angry. I get that. But to actually wish this virus on someone because of your hatred of them or who they’re related to is beyond the pale,” Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean reacted to Wilson’s post. “It’s not funny. It’s cruel and disgusting.”

“This is the most insidious & hateful rhetoric of anyone who exists in political punditry,” The Hill’s Joe Concha wrote.

“Rick Wilson is wishing Coronavirus on Melania Trump,” the media reporter added. “It doesn’t matter if the wish is aimed at a First Lady, or a doctor, a teacher, a policewoman. It is despicable. He deserves no platform.”

Wilson angrily responded, “Fox still isn’t going to hire you.”

Independent conservative Kimberly Ross addressed Wilson: “You should never wish that your political opponents get sick. This is obvious to most people. But others are so poisoned by hate…”

The Never Trump pundit claimed his “be infected” remark did not actually mean he wished Mrs. Trump “be infected.”

“Well, since the POINT was to mock her absurd #BeBest failure, I didn’t but you do you,” Wilson told Ross.

“Rick – did you write ‘be infected’ in regards to Melania?” asked producer and actress Jaime Primak. “No matter how much we don’t like them, we can’t wish this virus on people. We just can’t. Or at the very least we shouldn’t.”

Wilson again seemed to suggest he did not wish such thing: “As noted several times, it was a play off her failed #BeBest campaign, but the Trump outrage machine needs feeding,” he wrote. 

Two hours after Wilson posted the “be infected” tweet, Wilson called anyone who believes he wished the virus on Mrs. Trump a “f***wit.”

“ANYONE who thought I was wishing COVID on Melania is f***wit,” Wilson wrote.

“You know full well it was a riff on ‘BeBest’ and it’s utter failure in the face of her husband’s continued role as Global Troll in Chief and National Bully,” continued the pundit.

“That said, fap to your fake-a** outrage all you like,” Wilson added. “Fap” is a vulgar slang term for masturbation.

Novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has infected 229,472 people globally as of Thursday afternoon, and killed 9,344. In the United States, there are 10,781 confirmed cases, with that number expected to rise dramatically in coming days as the testing becomes more readily available. There have been 160 fatalities from the virus in the U.S. to date.

As highlighted by Politico on Tuesday, precautions surrounding the virus have created massive economic strain, overwhelming unemployment offices throughout the nation.

“Employers are slashing jobs at a furious pace across the nation due to mass shutdowns over the coronavirus, slamming state unemployment offices with a crush of filers facing sudden crises,” the report said. “Long before official government data is expected to reveal the depths of the economic shock inflicted by the coronavirus, reports from state officials and businesses around the country indicate the gathering of a massive wave of unemployment on a scale unseen since the Great Recession.”