NEW RICHMOND, Wisconsin —At just over seven months since Donald Trump lost the presidential election, just how strong is the siren song of “stop the steal” conspiracy theories within the Republican base? An answer of sorts could be found in the thousands of people wearing Trump-themed “patriot” gear who streamed into a grass field on Saturday to attend a “free speech festival” organized by one of the leading lights of election fraud misinformation: MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
While Trump was scheduled to address the predominantly white crowd via Jumbotron, Lindell, who dubbed the event a “free speech Woodstock,” inexplicably threatened to end an interview with The Daily Beast when asked if the rally could be seen as a show of strength of the Trump movement generally.
“I’m the one who paid for this whole rally, I’m the one who put this on. I paid for everything out of my pocket,” Lindell said. “You asked me what it means? Every single person in this country, Democrats, Republican, everybody that has been canceled, just people in general, that have been canceled out. You can’t talk about machines, you can’t talk about election fraud, you can’t talk about vaccines… you can’t talk about anything or they cancel you out.”