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After 3+ years, $65k in crowdfunding, Lincoln Project co-founder mum on promised anti-Trump film

Veteran GOP negative ad-maker Rick Wilson solicited tens of thousands of dollars in donations, but his film "Everything Trump Touches Dies" has yet to be born.

Updated: March 3, 2021 - 11:04pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A long-anticipated anti-Trump film, bankrolled by tens of thousands of crowdfunded dollars and spearheaded by a prominent Never-Trump pundit, has yet to be made after three and a half years of assurances that the movie was forthcoming. 

Rick Wilson, a longtime Republican negative ad-maker and co-founder of the Never-Trump Lincoln Project, first announced the film "Everything Trump Touches Dies," on GoFundMe in September of 2017.

"Since the moment Donald Trump was sworn in as President, one thing has been clear; everything he touches dies," reads the project's fundraising page. "In just one year, his disastrous Presidency has already produced a record of failure, corruption, and chaos."

"We're here to tell the story of the first year of Donald Trump's reckless, failed Presidency," it continues, "and the damage he's done to America's reputation, values, and institutions, and to the allies and supporters who put him in office and served in his White House."

Trump's first year, of course, has long since passed, as has Trump's presidency itself. Yet Wilson's proposed film has as of this week not been released. It is unclear to what extent work on the film has been completed. 

Wilson as of Wednesday had raised just under $65,000 for the project. Donations were still coming in as late as July of last year.

In March of 2018, after six months of fundraising, Wilson said the project was "pushing hard to finish our fundraising efforts so we can focus completely on filming and post-production." The next update, which is also the last update on the film's GoFundMe page, was in February of 2019. 

"Just a quick note to let you know ETTD is still happening!" the update read. "The initial concept of the documentary was focused on the early days of the Trump Administration, but with the success of the book on which much of the research for the project was based, it became obvious we had to expand the scope of the project to truly tell the story."

The book to which that update refers was published in August of 2018, nearly a year after the film project began. That work bills itself as a "deft chronicle of the tragicomic political story of our time" spanning from "the early [Trump] campaign days through the shock of election night, to the inconceivable train-wreck of Trump's first year."

Wilson did not respond to queries seeking comment on the film's progress. Nor did Ben Howe, a political commentator billed as the film's producer and director. 

GoFundMe also did not respond to requests for comment on the matter. The crowdfunding service's internal policies allow donors to seek remedies for misused funds, though the company says that it offers no guarantees that donations "will be used in accordance with any fundraising purpose prescribed by a User or Campaign."

Though the movie has yet to see the light of day in any form, Wilson at times indicated that he and Howe were in active production of at least some scenes of it. 

"Ben and I are hard at work on the first trailer for ETTD!" Wilson wrote in a November 2017 update. A few weeks later, in January, he claimed that the team was "deep into our pre-production work" for the film. 

A few days later, he said the filmmakers would soon be "filming the first round of interviews with some amazing newsmakers."

Wilson has been among the numerous Never Trumpers to have come under fire in the wake of the multiple scandals that rocked the Lincoln Project in the early months of 2021.

That group has been scrambling to deal with both a lurid sexual harassment scandal involving one of its founders, John Weaver, as well as an ensuing personnel shakeup as multiple high-ranking staffers have fled the organization amid the chaos.