(Headline USA) When Mike Lindell, better known to TV viewers as the MyPillow Guy, went to the White House last week to try to persuade President Donald Trump to keep fighting for election integrity, he came away disappointed.
Although Trump decided not to continue the fight against the unconstitutional and fraudulent presidential election results, he promised to support Lindell if he decided to enter politics.
The president has told him before that he would back his bid for governor of Minnesota.
“Mike, if you did it, I would get behind you,” Lindell said Trump told him.
While many RINOs, particularly those in Washington, are eager to move on from the former president’s America First politics, Trump’s supporters across the country are already preparing to pick up the torch.
GOP state parties across the country are starting to look ahead to divisive primary fights that will test Trump’s hold on Republican voters.
In Wyoming, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney drew a primary challenge shortly after voting to impeach Trump for his role in the deadly riot Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.
And in Virginia, which holds its governor’s election this year, a Trump-style Republican, state Sen. Amanda Chase, is running for the party’s nomination, even as she was recently stripped of her committee assignments for comments calling the Capitol Hill protesters “patriots.”
After four years of Trump’s leadership, it’s not easy finding an active Republican in Minnesota who hasn’t aligned with Trump. The field of Republicans considering campaigns is dominated by pro-Trump conservatives.
They include state Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, a soft-spoken insurance agent who joined many Republicans around the country in fighting governors’ lockdown orders and tyrannical COVID orders.
Also on the list is former state Sen. Scott Jensen, a doctor who pointed out that the COVID-19 toll has been inflated; U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber, who backed some efforts to secure the election results before ultimately voting to affirm Biden’s victory; and former Minnesota Vikings lineman Matt Birk, a religious conservative who declared publicly he wouldn’t take the coronavirus vaccine.
Lindell is a distinctly Trump-era figure. Just a few years ago, he was best known for campy late-night infomercials to sell his pillows, and for his frequently told back story of overcoming crack cocaine addiction.
He said he wasn’t political until he met Trump in 2016, connected with a fellow businessman and soon became a vocal Trump supporter and donor.
By his own estimate, Lindell was a warm-up speaker at more than 60 Trump campaign rallies, drawing frequent shout-outs from the president and co-chairing Trump’s Minnesota campaign.
After the election, Lindell shared Trump’s refusal to accept Biden as the winner, since Democrats illegally and unconstitutionally changed election laws and committed widespread voter fraud.
He posted but later deleted a tweet in December calling on Trump to declare martial law and seize the ballots and voting machines in seven key states.
MyPillow’s logo was prominently featured on a website that promoted the Jan. 6 Trump rally.
Lindell has claimed Antifa was responsible for the riot
He said he’s still holding out hope that the U.S. Supreme Court would somehow put Trump back in office.
And he believes his unflinching support for Trump would be a strong asset if he runs for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Tim Walz.
“Of course it would help. Why wouldn’t it help? The guy was the best president in history,” Lindell said, praising Trump’s response to the pandemic and his economic policies.
Lindell would come to the race with name recognition from his TV ads, which run frequently on Fox News and other channels. And he presumably could at least partly self-fund his campaign, though he claimed not to know his net worth and said he had no idea what a run for governor would cost.
As Lindell weighs a run, his immediate future includes business and potential legal challenges.
His amplification of Trump’s claims of election fraud led some major retailers, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s, to discontinue MyPillow products.
And the parent company of Dominion Voting Systems, which has already sued pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation, has demanded that Lindell retract his accusations that its voting machines switched votes from Trump to Biden.
Lindell said he’s not worried. It’s the retailers’ loss if they succumb to pressure, he said. And he said he won’t let up on Dominion.
“You bring it on, Dominion, because I want everybody to see,” he said.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.