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Opinion >  Column

Shawn Vestal: In the conspiracy-laced pillow game, truth is dumber than fiction

Orlando Sentinel Founder and CEO of My Pillow Mike Lindell has spread discredited claims of widespread 2020 election fraud in Idaho. Officials there have sent Lindell a cease-and-desist letter and a bill of more than $6,000 over the businessman's repeated accusations.  (Spokesman-Review wire archives)
Orlando Sentinel Founder and CEO of My Pillow Mike Lindell has spread discredited claims of widespread 2020 election fraud in Idaho. Officials there have sent Lindell a cease-and-desist letter and a bill of more than $6,000 over the businessman's repeated accusations. (Spokesman-Review wire archives)

If the white nationalist in your life is weary from helping tear down the country, then Mike Lindell has just the thing for you.

A cheap pillow.

White pillowcase sold separately.

Lindell, the election-lie peddler and wingnut financier, has apparently added a new beneficiary to the causes he supports with bedding sales: Vincent James Foxx, the latest unfortunate emigrant helping to poison North Idaho politics.

Foxx, who sometimes goes by just Vincent James, bragged recently during a livestream that Lindell offered him a MyPillow promotion code to help support his work.

Foxx’s work is pushing for a white Christian homeland, deploying racial slurs in a snickering fashion while promoting dumb-guy theocracy and fringe conspiracy theories.

“Big shout out to Mike Lindell,” Foxx said on the livestream, which was first reported by Right Wing Watch. “Can we get a capital W in the chat for White Mike Lindell, because he has given us an opportunity to sell some pillows … which is awesome.”

And thus, two strands of lunacy on the far right forged another unholy marriage. This news was reported the day before Lindell’s phone was seized by the FBI at a Hardee’s in Minnesota, as part of an investigation into efforts in a Colorado county to manipulate election results and undermine the 2020 vote.

Among the many promo codes he has used to support alt-right activities were several associated with QAnon.

It’s all part of the absurd, tragicomic nature of the times. The ugliest beliefs planted right next to the silliest. The most dangerous ideas sidled up next to the dumbest. Pillow sales financing conspiracies about pedophilic cannibals.

That’s the context for a world in which a promo code for Foxx – who once declared “We are the Christian Taliban and we won’t stop until ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is reality, and even worse” – will save you $40 on a $70 pillow, with half the proceeds going to support that Christian Taliban.

If you made this up – wrote it in a novel like “The Handmaid’s Tale,” say – it would be too absurd to be believable. In these particular echo chambers, though, reality is dumber than fiction.

Lindell is one of the biggest peddlers of the stolen-election lie in the country, and he’s thrown his considerable resources behind it. He produced a series of “documentaries” in which he claims that foreign hackers switched votes in the computer systems of elections offices in the 2020 vote.

You may recall that Ken Peters, the pastor who started the Church at Planned Parenthood protests and who was a Matt Shea ally until the two had conflict and parted ways last year, said he traveled to the Jan. 6 rallies on Lindell’s private plane and stayed at a Trump hotel on Lindell’s dime.

Foxx is a white Christian nationalist and former pusher of the insane QAnon Pizzagate conspiracy. He attended the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., with Nick Fuentes, a loathsome white supremacist (and former podcasting buddy of our own James Allsup) and was once affiliated with the “racist fight club” Rise Above Movement.

He recently moved to Idaho, where he blabbers on about people like him taking over the state’s politics.

“We are going to take over this state,” he said in a livestream. “We have a great large group of people, and that group is growing. A true, actual right-wing takeover is happening right now in the state of Idaho. And there’s nothing that these people can do about it. So if you’re a legislator here, either get in line or get out of the way.”

He advises his followers to follow his lead and get involved in GOP politics.

“You can do it, too,” he said. “Just get involved. Go to your local GOP meetings, push these people further right, push them. And if they don’t push, if they don’t budge, then replace them, period. Point blank. Run yourself, run one of your friends, support, volunteer for campaigns, go to your local GOP meetings and start meeting people and talking to people. That’s the solution.”

There was a time when this would be a less realistic vision than it is now, unfortunately. He’s had some success insinuating himself into the circles of the now completely undiscriminating Kootenai County GOP. He’s been photographed buddying around with Dave Reilly, naturally; Reilly is another extremist carpetbagger, who moved to Idaho a couple of years ago and was quickly embraced by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee as a school board candidate.

When Reilly’s history of anti-Semitic writing and tweets emerged, as is now well-known, the KCRCC doubled down on backing him, naming him a delegate to the state GOP convention earlier this year.

There is no dog too mangy for that kennel.

Foxx and Reilly have been photographed with failed gubernatorial candidate Janice McGeachin and Dinesh D’Souza. They were instrumental in whipping up a bigoted fury online about the Pride event in Coeur d’Alene earlier this year that helped to attract that U-Haul full of Patriot Front members.

Anyway, this is the guy that Mike Lindell thought would be a good partner in the pillow biz.

“Got off the phone with him,” Foxx said on his livestream. “He’s like, ‘Vince, we need you to sell some My Pillows for us,’ and I was like, ‘Say no more. Gimme a code.’ ”

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