Republican political strategist Rick Wilson is no fan of Donald Trump, and he’s often been colorful in his descriptions of Trump’s actual or theoretical behavior. Tonight, Wilson appeared on Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC show in order to discuss how the Republican Congress views the prospect of Mike Pence becoming President if Trump is ousted. In the process, Wilson introduced a new phrase to the political lexicon.
O’Donnell was doing a segment on the growing off-the-record chatter emanating from some Republicans on Capitol Hill who admit they’d rather be dealing with Mike Pence than with Donald Trump as President. Rick Wilson pointed out that some of them are simply afraid to say it publicly, for fear that Trump would go “ripshit bonkers” on them in response. Can you even say that on cable news? Rick Wilson just did.
Lawrence O’Donnell didn’t seem to pick up on the phrase, or perhaps he simply didn’t have time to respond to it, as the segment and episode were imminently ending. But the audience at home sure seemed to pick up on it, as they immediately took to Twitter to congratulate Wilson for using the phrase on air while promoting a #ripshitbonkers hashtag. Here are a few examples:
— Marcus G. (@marcus_469) May 19, 2017
— alexandra leh (@lacheraqui) May 19, 2017
— Genevieve Guerrière (@VoxGenevieve) May 19, 2017
Update: we’ve found a video clip of the segment:
— Ben Zimmer (@bgzimmer) May 19, 2017
It’s notable that Rick Wilson, by virtue of being a conservative who has a low opinion of Donald Trump for a lot of the same reasons that liberals do, has managed to gain a following on the left and right in this political cycle. You can follow his Twitter account here; perhaps he’ll end up posting the “ripshit bonkers” segment himself.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report