Mike Lindell says he didn’t mean for his $50,000 donation to help bail out Kenosha killer Kyle Rittenhouse

By: - November 23, 2020 4:44 pm

Photo courtesy of Mike Lindell.

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who is considering a 2022 run for governor of Minnesota, says he didn’t mean to contribute $50,000 to the bail fund of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Illinois boy charged with fatally shooting two men and wounding another during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Rittenhouse has since become a hero of white supremacists and the far right and was bonded out of jail Friday with donations solicited by his lawyer. His lawyer, Lin Wood, tweeted that Rittenhouse made the $2 million cash bail with the help from actor Ricky Schroder and Lindell.

Michelle Lawless, a spokeswoman for Lindell, released a statement Monday in which Lindell says he was unaware how his money was being used: “I was hunting this weekend and came back to headlines about a recent donation. I want to clarify. I made a $50,000 donation to the general fund of The Fight Back Foundation Inc. to help fund election fraud litigation, among other things.” 

Asked whether Lindell was implying his donation wasn’t meant to bail out Rittenhouse, Lawless responded, via email: “Correct.” Asked if Lindell intended to ask for his donation back, she said no.

The Fight Back Foundation was established in part to help defend Rittenhouse. Wood, Rittenhouse’s lawyer, helped form the foundation on Aug. 12 in Texas to “protect and defend our Constitution on many fronts.”

“Kyle’s defense is one of those fronts,” Wood told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Rittenhouse recently told The Washington Post he used money from his federal stimulus check to buy an AR-15 and went to Wisconsin to help protect businesses, and “would have died that night” without the gun. He has since become a hero in some Trumpist and gun rights circles who hailed his actions in the face of Black Lives Matter protests.

Wood also represented Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann in lawsuits against media companies in 2019 over their coverage of his confrontation with a Native American activist in Washington, D.C.

Lindell has flirted with the idea of running for Minnesota governor, making repeated promises during recent campaign appearances to run if Republicans performed well in Minnesota on Nov. 3.

Lindell has decried first-term DFL Gov. Tim Walz’s handling of the pandemic and predicted Minnesota would turn Republican in a landslide this November.

Walz, who is relatively popular among Minnesotans according to a recent Star Tribune poll, is up for reelection in 2022. 

Lindell has become a darling of the religious right, which instantly recognizes him from his ubiquitous Fox News ads selling his signature pillows.

Trump began praising Lindell during a Fargo rally in 2018 and has continued since.

Lindell says he was a crack addict before he became a Christian, invented the pricey pillow and gained visibility after publicly supporting Trump, and vice versa.

In October, Lindell said he’d announce his decision on a gubernatorial race after the Nov. 3 election, but Nov. 4 came and went, and Lindell didn’t make a decision, saying “I said I’d run if we won Minnesota; obviously we lost so now I have to weigh that.”

“I had said I’m only running if we won Minnesota up and down the ticket. But now I’ve gotta debate and I’ve gotta pray about it and see what happens with the presidential election. (They) might need me now more than ever,” he told the Reformer on Nov. 4.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.

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