On Wednesday, popular CNN guest Rick Wilson retweeted an article about Melania Trump and captioned it “Be Infected,” mocking Melania’s anti-bullying “Be Best” campaign.
The article highlighted Melania’s appearance at coronavirus-related public service announcements, to which Wilson wrote “#BeInfected.”
Many criticized Wilson for wishing that Melania gets infected by COVID-19. The criticism came from both sides of 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 wrote. “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, adding, “Rick Wilson is wishing Coronavirus on Melania Trump. 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 responded to Concha, “Fox still isn’t going to hire you.”
Independent conservative Kimberly Ross commented: “You should never wish that your political opponents get sick. This is obvious to most people. But others are so poisoned by hate…” to which Wilson responded: “Well, since the POINT was to mock her absurd #BeBest failure, I didn’t but you do you.”
Producer and actress Jaime Primak wrote: “Rick – did you write ‘be infected’ in regards to Melania? 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 responded: “As noted several times, it was a play off her failed #BeBest campaign, but the Trump outrage machine needs feeding.”
Two hours after he retweeted the article, Wilson tweeted: “ANYONE who thought I was wishing COVID on Melania is f***wit. 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. That said, fap to your fake-a** outrage all you like.”
COVID-19 has infected 229,472 people globally as of Thursday afternoon, claiming 9,344 lives. The United States had confirmed 10,781 cases, with the number expected to rise dramatically in the next few days as testing becomes more available. There have been 160 COVID-19 fatalities in the U.S.
On Tuesday, Politico wrote:
“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. 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.”