Politics

The Disaster Artist

Jacob Wohl is the perfect man for his times.
May 10, 2019
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Jacob Wohl is the grifter’s grifter. If he’d been part of the Watergate crew, he would have broken into the RNC instead of the DNC. He is—and I do not say this lightly—the Eric Trump of dirty tricksters.

It takes a lot to stand out from a crowd that includes luminaries such as Corey Lewandowski, Jim Hoft, and Charlie Kirk. Yet Wohl has done it—and all before his 22nd birthday.

Yes, Wohl has made a name for himself and you know that the Deep State is worried because he’s been banned from everything from the National Futures Association (for refusal to cooperate with the organization; the Arizona Corporation Commission charged him with 14 counts of defrauding investors) to Twitter (for faking death threats against himself and reporting them to police and for admitting he ran multiple profiles). Young Jacob has emerged as one of the sketchiest, sleaziest minor characters in Trump World, a man-child who is equal parts grifter and conspiracy theorist. He’s Roger Stone without the class, Don Jr. without the intellect, Laura Loomer without the rage, Tomi Lahren without the breasts, Dan Bongino without the hair plugs, Diamond and Silk without the YouTube channel.

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The most recent rash of Wohl stupidity came last week when a sexual assault allegation surfaced about my friend Mayor Pete. It was, like so many Jacob Wohl allegations, immediately discredited. The debacle was hilarious in its particulars, a Fawlty Towers version of an attempted smear. But it was also kind of weirdly tragic because Wohl is only a kid and he’s already repeating himself: He’d tried the same gambit earlier this year against the 74-year-old Robert Mueller.

What’s fascinating about these episodes is that Wohl seems to create them out of whole-cloth. Where a generically sleazy political operator might embellish a rumor, or take a plausible idea and try to find convenient innuendos to gussy it up, Jacob just, well, as the kids say, makes shit up.

And this made-up merde is so wildly ridiculous and thinly disguised that the allegations rarely last for even a few hours before they’re completely debunked. Which is, if you think about it, an accomplishment of sorts: We currently live in times so incredibly stupid that a fake story about a sex trafficking ring in the basement of a pizza shop can linger for month after month after month.

Think about all the wacky, absurdist conspiracy theories that catch fire on the internet—from chemtrails to QAnon to the theory that Melania, like Saddam Hussein before her, employs the occasional use of a body double. Just how dumb do Wohl’s stories have to be to be shot down before these things?

(Also out of thin air, Wohl pulled his mysterious and somewhat magical and likely imaginary “hipster coffee shop” where people discussed their love of Donald J. Trump.)

Then there was the time he joined forces with Laura Loomer—not since Einstein met Gödel have two minds been so serendipitously matched—to travel to Minnesota in order to investigate the incredibly debunked claim that congresswoman Ilhan Omar was married to her brother, which failed spectacularly and almost immediately managed to generate mainstream sympathy for Omar.

Jacob and Laura’s excellent adventure mostly involved driving around in an SUV while wearing bullet-proof vests because “Minnesota nice” is a false flag operation designed to lure people into a false sense of security. Even under the pretend threat of violence they found the courage to do deeply weird livestreams some of which, I’m not proud to admit, I actually watched.


For reasons unclear, Wohl hitched his wagon to “lawyer” and “lobbyist” Jack Burkman, who has been grifting for longer than young Jacob has been alive, but is famous mostly for having his fly unzipped during the press conference on the phony Mueller sexual assault story. And also for holding a press conference about the murder of Seth Rich in a Holiday Inn.

Without casting any aspersions on Burkman’s value proposition, it’s clear that Wohl didn’t really need his help. When it comes to batshit performance art (as Thornton McEnery called it), Wohl is John, Paul, and George rolled into one and Burkman is a guy who bumped into Ringo on the way to the bus.

I mean, if you want to get a sense of the sheer magnitude of Wohl’s abilities consider that he managed to get himself fired from Gateway Pundit.

Fired. From. Gateway Pundit.

Here are some of the headlines on Gateway Pundit as I was writing this piece:

“Ted Malloch: GLOBALISM is the New Tower of Babel”

And:

“It’s Happening: Congressional Investigators Looking at ‘Number of False Statements’ Made by Mueller and Lies About Mifsud”

And:

“AMERICANS LIVID As Far Left Democrats, Deep State and Liberal Media Continue Their Illegal Assault on President Trump and Release His Old Taxes”

Imagine, if you can, what it must take to get fired from a gig like this.

For now, Wohl has bafflingly managed to remain on Instagram, where he is using the platform to ask people to donate money to Laura Loomer because Loomer was recently been kicked off of Instagram. Since her ban Loomer has raised $70,000, which, one imagines, is quite a lot more money than most people can ever make from their Instagram accounts. No judgments.


On Wednesday, Wohl had another press conference. It was everything we hoped it could be.

In the run up to the event, Wohl tried to create a fictitious counter-protest to his own event. People connected the dots about as quickly as they usually do. Then, at the actual event, Wohl struggled to be heard over the sounds of Burkman’s trash being collected by an extremely loud garbage truck. Then Wohl proceeded to show a video of Hunter Kelly (the faux victim in the Mayor Pete sexual assault hoax) drinking a caramel Frappuccino in an attempt to prove that while Wohl may have made it all up, it wasn’t like he’d actually held the guy against his will or anything, as he sort of alluded to later on. It wasn’t an assault! It was just a lie!

It was at this moment, as I stared at the trainwreck speeding into the dumpster fire, that it hit me: Jacob Wohl is the Tommy Wiseau of politics. You can say that he’s absurd, or a clown, or a pathologically insane clown. But it’s also kind of impossible not to be impressed by his commitment and tenacity. And it’s also—again, if we’re being honest—kind of mesmerizing because every time he opens his mouth there’s a chance he’ll do something truly amazing.

Wohl has already come up with a business plan to make even more shit up for the 2020. He’s going to make America great again by grifting the olds with a faux investment scheme.

But the truth is, in order for his gifts to fully flower, it’s probably time for President Trump to bring him into the administration. I hear there are a couple of vacancies . . .

*Correction, May 11, 2019: The article originally and incorrectly stated that the National Futures Association banned Wohl for defrauding investors. He was banned for not cooperating. It was the Arizona Corporation Commission who charged Wohl for defrauding investors. We regret the error.

Molly Jong-Fast

Molly Jong-Fast is a contributor to The Bulwark and the author of three books. Follow her on Twitter @MollyJongFast.