From Trump to Frank: A timeline of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's eventful career so far

·7 min read
Frank Mike Lindell
Mike Lindell held a livestreaming marathon to celebrate the launch of Frank. Frank
  • Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, became a recognizable political figure during Trump's term.

  • His latest venture, the social-media platform Frank, has launched.

  • Here's a brief timeline of Lindell's most notable career moments.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Mike Lindell, chief executive of MyPillow, rose into the national political spotlight seemingly overnight as he was pulled into President Donald Trump's inner circle.

He's been making news since at least 2009, though, when he launched MyPillow in Carver, Minnesota. During MyPillow's first few years, Lindell's name popped up often in The Minneapolis Star Tribune, usually in gossip columns.

Nine years ago, Lindell told a reporter at The Chaska Herald that his company was growing at a rate of about 10% per month, with expected annual sales of $10 million. "Within three years, one-fifth of the world's population will be sleeping on MyPillow. That is my goal," he said at the time.

By the time Donald Trump started his run for office, Lindell had become a recognizable face around the country. He appeared in his own MyPillow ads, which often ran on Fox News.

mike Lindell MyPillow my pillow
Lindell appears in a MyPillow TV commercial. MyPillow

Trump invited him to Trump Tower on August 15, 2016, marking their first meeting, according to CNN. Now, about five years later, Lindell is as well known for his political advocacy as for his pillow business.

Since Trump lost the presidential election in November, Lindell's pushed several questionable theories about election fraud. In the wake of the January 6 Capitol insurrection, Lindell questioned whether the rioters had been Antifa plants.

More recently, MyPillow has launched a counter-lawsuit against Dominion for $1.6 billion. On the retail front, many companies, including Costco, have stopped stocking MyPillow's products, Lindell told Insider.

Here's a brief timeline of Lindell's years in the national spotlight alongside Trump. We'll update this article from time to time.

On July 19, 2017, Lindell appeared with Trump at the White House

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Michael Lindell with President Trump at the White House in 2017. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

During Trump's term, Lindell, a major Republican donor, often appeared alongside the president. He was invited to the White House for a 2017 event during "Made In America" week, because his pillows are made in the US.

On October 11, 2019, Trump praised Lindell

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Trump holds a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in October 2019. Leah Millis/Reuters

During Trump's first political rally after the House began an impeachment inquiry, the president praised Lindell. Trump was speaking in Minnesota, where Lindell grew up.

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On January 7, 2021, Lindell spread misinformation about Antifa's involvement in the Capitol riots

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A pro-Trump mob broke into the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 to disrupt the Electoral Vote Certification. Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images

In the days after the January 6 Capitol insurrection, Lindell took to Twitter and Parler to share a 7-minute video, in which he said the rioters may have been "plants."

"First of all, the riots you're seeing on TV - that's a joke," Lindell told followers in a video posted to Facebook, Twitter, and Parler.

On January 15, 2021, Lindell's White House meeting notes made news

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Lindell waits to go into the West Wing of the White House on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Gerald Herbert/AP Photo

On January 15, Jabin Botsford, a photographer at The Washington Post, photographed Lindell carrying notes into an Oval Office meeting with Trump.

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Lindell was walking with a coffee in one hand and his notes in the other, when they were captured. In part, they read: "Insurrection Act now as a result of the assault on the... martial law if necessary up the first hint of any..."

On January 21, 2021, Insider published a profile of Lindell

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Lindell with a MyPillow pillow. MyPillow; Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images; Stephen Maturen/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider

Lindell continued supporting Trump throughout the final days of his presidency, even as other corporate allies abandoned the president.

In January, Insider's Kate Taylor spoke with Lindell. "I'm not backing down on these machines that stole our election," he told Insider.

On January 23, 2021, big box stores pulled MyPillow from shelves

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Bed Bath & Beyond. Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl's, and other large US retailers said they'd ended their partnerships with MyPillow because of poor sales. Costco said it would continue selling the pillows.

"We have contractual commitments to MyPillow that we intend to honor, as we seek to do with all of our suppliers," a Costco representative told SFGate at the time.

Lindell said he was skeptical of companies' decisions to cut ties soon after news broke that he was facing a legal threat from voting-technology company Dominion, linked to his propagation of baseless voter fraud theories.

On January 26, 2021, Lindell was permanently banned from Twitter

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Lindell speaks to the crowd with Pulse founder Nick Hall in Minnesota. Adam Bettcher/WireImage

Lindell had sent Twitter messages asking Trump to impose "martial law" in the seven states where the president planned to contest election results. Lindell also said some Georgia voters should "go to prison" as a punishment for Biden's win.

On February 2, 2021, a Newsmax anchor walked off during a Lindell interview

The pro-Trump network Newsmax cut off Lindell's microphone, after he started amplifying bogus conspiracy theories about the 2020 election while on the air.

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The segment had been about Twitter removing Lindell's account, along with the MyPillow account. Lindell opened the conversation by saying: "We have 100% proof" of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

But Bob Sellers, a Newsmax anchor, cut him off.

"Mike, you're talking about machines, that we at Newsmax have not been able to verify any of those kinds of allegations," he said.

A few moments later, Sellers hopped out of his chair, leaving the set as Lindell spoke.

On February 22, 2021, Dominion Voting Systems sued Lindell

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Trump listens as Lindell speaks at the White House MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems sued both MyPillow and Lindell, seeking damages of more than $1.3 billion. In weeks prior, the company had said Lindell was "begging to be sued." MyPillow, has since launched a counter-lawsuit against Dominion for $1.6 billion.

On February 5, 2021, Lindell aired his own documentary about election fraud

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Lindell cheers as Trump speaks to supporters. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In early February, Lindell appeared on The Revival Channel on YouTube to announce a documentary, "Absolute Proof," he'd made in support of his baseless claims of issues in the 2020 election.

He bought airtime on One America News Network to air the documentary. The network ran a 90-second statement before airing the film.

The movie in March earned Lindell a Razzie nomination for worst actor, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Lindell launched a social-media site focused on free speech

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Lindell at the White House. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Lindell in March said he planned to launch his own social-media site, which would be a cross between Twitter and YouTube.

"It's not like anything you've ever seen," he told Insider. "It's all about being able to be vocal again and not to be walking on eggshells."

By mid-April, the site's name had changed from Vocl to Frank. Lindell also said the site planned to bar swearing, porn, and death threats.

After a delayed launch, the site got off to a rocky start, initially displaying an error message. Lindell said the website was facing a "massive attack against it."

To celebrate the launch, Lindell hosted a marathon livestream, which he called Frankathon.

Read the original article on Business Insider