As many business leaders separated from President Donald Trump following the attack on the U.S. Capitol, the chief executive of Minnesota-based MyPillow Inc. leaned in.
On Tuesday, with key retailers dropping MyPillow products, CEO Mike Lindell continued to promote debunked claims that election fraud cost Trump a second term and said he was less worried about his business than the country.
“I’m fighting for America,” Lindell said in an interview. “We hope the Supreme Court opens up and says something.”
Kohl’s, Wayfair, H-E-B and Bed Bath & Beyond ended their distributor relationship with the Chaska-based company in recent days, Lindell said.
He blamed political activists and said he believed his firm’s products would be back in the chains someday.
Lindell, an outspoken backer of Trump who is thinking about entering the 2022 race for Minnesota governor, on Friday spent a few minutes with the president at the White House. He was photographed going into the West Wing with a document of apparent steps Trump could take to try to remain in power, including invoking martial law.
A left-leaning activist group, Sleeping Giants, in recent days ridiculed Lindell on social media and pressed retailers to stop selling MyPillow merchandise. It’s unclear whether the companies responded directly to that pressure.
“These evil, left-wing groups that get hired to cancel out companies, you’re not going to hurt MyPillow, you’re going to hurt these big-box stores,” Lindell told the Star Tribune.
None of the retailers responded to a request for comment.
In a statement to Yahoo Finance, a spokesperson for Bed Bath & Beyond dismissed the notion that its decision was politically motivated.
“As previously announced, we have been rationalizing our assortment to discontinue a number of underperforming items and brands. This includes the MyPillow product line,” the retailer’s statement said.
A spokeswoman for Kohl’s told the New York Times that “there has been decreased customer demand for MyPillow,” and that the retailer would not be restocking its inventory once the pillows it currently has sell out.
Lindell said executives from several big-box stores called him this week to ask him to “back down” on his claims of election fraud.
“I said, ‘No, our country is under attack by China. They stole the election,’ ” Lindell said.
He said he thinks retailers now distancing from MyPillow will again order its products “once they quit getting attacked by the bots and the trolls.”
Retail analyst Neil Saunders said most companies don’t want to be associated with political controversies.
“We are in a very sensitive era. Really a lot of retail brands do not want to be associated with anything they see as toxic. Coming out and saying the election results are disputed is being seen as fairly toxic,” said Saunders, managing director of GlobalData.
This situation became even more sensitive following the attack on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month that left five people dead, including a police officer defending members of Congress, and dozens of other officers badly injured.
“A lot of retailers do not want to be associated with the brands or the personalities that are themselves linked to the more unpleasant aspects of the Trump era,” Saunders said. “This isn’t new, but it has come to a head again because of recent events.”
In the interview, Lindell reasserted his allegations that China hacked into the electronic-voting systems, including those operated by Dominion Voting Systems, used in the U.S. election. For the next several days, he plans to push forward these claims.
“I believe that Dominion, the machine people, hired these entities to attack MyPillow and all these other companies,” Lindell said.
Lawyers for Dominion sent Lindell a letter on Jan. 8 demanding he retract his public allegations of fraud against the company and issue an apology. Lindell said Tuesday he welcomes a lawsuit.
Previous allegations of wrongdoing or fraud related to Dominion’s technology have been debunked. The company is now mounting several defamation lawsuits against individuals and right-wing media outlets that perpetuated such theories.
Kristen Leigh Painter • 612-673-4767