RNC brings Pillow Guy and his outrageous election conspiracy theories into the fold

WASHINGTON — The Republican National Committee welcomes ubiquitous pillow salesman Mike Lindell into the fold after his failed presidency, despite his baseless claims that foreign powers stole the 2020 election from Donald Trump by hacking into voting machines and its post-coup. attempted visit to the White House with papers advocating “martial law”.

Lindell won the votes of just four of the RNC’s 168 members in Friday’s election at its winter meeting, but he was nonetheless congratulated by Ronna McDaniel, who won his fourth two-year term, and his allies.

“Where’s Mike?” McDaniel said after winning 111 votes, more than double the total of California RNC members Harmeet Dhillon and Lindell combined, as she took them both on stage and thanked them as well. “Thank you for the race you ran, for the leaders you are in our party. We are very grateful to you.

This embrace of an election liar worse than Trump himself has confused former major Republican players.

“I sometimes refer to the obviously unhinged as crazier than a pulverized cockroach. Mike Lindell is so crazy he makes pulverized cockroaches look like Zen masters,” said Mac Stipanovich, a longtime GOP consultant in Florida who quit the party after it was taken over by Trump. “Any embrace of Lindell by anyone is a sure sign of advanced and irremediable moral decay.”

Jennifer Horn, a former member of the RNC when she ran the New Hampshire state party, said there was no point in getting close to Lindell. “Further evidence that the GOP consciously chooses to build its future on dangerous, extreme, anti-democracy deniers.”

Lindell did not respond to HuffPost’s queries for this article.

In his sales pitch to committee members as well as in media interviews, Lindell often claimed that he had been a major donor to the RNC, but quit after learning of the party’s wasteful spending, that he described as a “money laundering operation”.

“With the RNC, the money, I was a big donor, and you give money, and when I find out that almost half of it was going to fundraising… It’s just too much overhead, it’s crazy,” Lindell said last. week during a “debate” sponsored by pro-Trump radio host John Fredericks, whose show Lindell sponsors.

In fact, Lindell never made a direct donation to the RNC, and he never donated to any candidate or federal committee prior to Trump’s 2016 presidential nomination, according to a HuffPost review of Federal Election Commission records.

Lindell contributed $195,000 to Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee, which distributed a total of $110,700 to the RNC between August 2016 and January 2018.

And while this is a large sum, it pales in comparison to the very large donors to the party. According to HuffPost’s analysis, Lindell’s total to the RNC makes him its 865th largest donor from August 2016 to November 2022, with 19 donors contributing $1 million or more.

Even among Trump Victory donors, Lindell’s total puts him just 475th, with nine donors giving more than $1 million.

In total, Lindell over the past six years has donated a total of $529,782 to federal candidates and committees — including $100,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC — a number dwarfed by the $40 million that he claims to have spent to prove his election conspiracy theories.

“I assumed he was a donor to some extent,” said an RNC member who spoke on condition of anonymity and defended McDaniel’s praise for Lindell. “She’d like to get him into the tent in a way that he’s actually useful.”

Praise of Lindell by McDaniel and others is based on his endless promotion of his MyPillow sleep products on right-wing media. Lindell once made a living counting cards in casinos, then overcame a crack addiction before starting his pillow business, he told HuffPost in a previous interview.

Today, it meticulously tracks the effectiveness of its various advertisements using unique “promo codes” for each programming item, whether it’s a cable show or a podcast.

His prominence in Republican politics began when he enthusiastically endorsed Trump in 2016 and began donating to Trump Victory. In the 2018 midterm elections, he appeared on stage with Trump. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, Lindell appeared at the White House with vaccine and testing officials to announce that his factory would produce face masks.

Later that year, after Trump lost the presidency to Democrat Joe Biden, Lindell became one of the most influential disseminators of increasingly absurd conspiracy theories. He was eventually sued for defamation by voting machine maker Dominion, which is seeking $1.3 billion in damages. And even after Trump’s failed attempt to coerce his own vice president into falsely and illegally giving him a second term on January 6, 2021, Lindell was photographed at the White House carrying papers with the words “martial law if necessary” visible on it.

Lindell claims to know nothing about the document he was carrying, but he did not stop his lies about a “stolen” election. At the Fredericks debate ― at which he was the only candidate present; neither Dhillon nor McDaniel showed up – he claimed nearly 2 million votes were stolen from Trump in 2020 in California alone.

“It’s a crazy job,” said Oscar Brock, an RNC member from Tennessee and one of the committee’s few vocal critics of Trump. “He spent $40 million trying to convince people that the Italians affected the outcome of the election…. There are no Italian space lasers affecting the vote totals on the machines.

Even the RNC member who defends McDaniel’s attempt to co-opt Lindell admits it risks hurting the party with mainstream voters.

“It lends credence to some of the crazy things he says,” the MP said. “Anyone who thinks the 2020 election was not won by Biden is just not dealing with the facts…. He needs to have people around him who would actually teach him. And then the question is: would he listen to them? I do not know.”


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