Donald Trump now has the notion in his head that he could return to the White House in August. But the twice-impeached former president isn’t getting that idea from constitutional scholars or his attorneys. Instead, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell apparently inspired him.
“If Trump is saying August, that is probably because he heard me say it publicly,” Lindell told The Daily Beast on Wednesday.
On Monday, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted that former President Trump has been telling associates that he expects to be restored to the presidency by August, after Joe Biden’s election is overturned. President Biden, of course, legitimately won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and decisively beat Trump in the Electoral College and popular vote. There is zero evidence to support that Trump will be back in office this summer, or at any time during the rest of Biden’s term.
In the past few weeks, two people close to Trump told The Daily Beast, the ex-president had begun increasingly quizzing confidants about a potential August return to power. What’s more, he claimed that a lot of “highly respected” people—who Trump did not name—have been saying it’s possible. Both of these sources said they decided not to tell the former president what they were thinking, which was that it’s not going to happen.
It’s unclear, exactly, who these “highly respected” individuals are, and who first got the August chatter in Trump’s ear. But the August deadline tracks with comments made by Lindell, one of the ex-president’s most ardent supporters and personal friends.
“Donald Trump, I believe, will be back in by the end of August,” Lindell said in a late-May appearance on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, claiming that even liberals like MSNBC host Rachel Maddow would admit the election was stolen. (So far, Maddow has not.)
Other top Trump allies have claimed that Trump could soon return to office. “He can simply be reinstated, but a new inauguration date is set, and Biden is told to move out of the White House, and President Trump should be moved back in,” pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell told a QAnon conference last weekend.
But the August deadline seems to be unique to Lindell. “The August part is me,” Lindell told Bannon in another podcast appearance in March.
On Wednesday, Lindell, who has briefed Trump at the White House and also financially backed several efforts to nullify the 2020 election results, said he doesn’t “know for sure” if he inspired Trump’s notion of an August restoration. Lindell also told The Daily Beast that his August assertion is more of an estimate, and aspirational.
“The month of August, for this, is subjective,” he said in an interview. “It is my hope that Donald Trump is reinstated, after all the proof comes out, by the end of August, but I don’t know if it’ll be that month, specifically. I started saying August…about four weeks ago. That was my estimation. I spoke about it with my lawyers who said that they should have something ready for us to bring before the U.S. Supreme Court by July. So, in my mind, I hope that means that we could have Donald Trump back in the White House by August. That’s how I landed on August, and I’m hopeful that that is correct.”
Lindell continued that when he’s spoken to former President Trump in recent months, he has not given Trump regular updates on his post-2020 activities and efforts. For instance, according to Lindell, one of the most recent phone calls he’s had with Trump was shortly after Lindell appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, when Trump called to congratulate him for taking on Kimmel, a liberal late-night talk show host and comedian.
Lindell’s theory that Trump will be returned to office centers on the pillow magnate’s claims that, together with a team of lawyers and well-intentioned “white hat” hackers, he has amassed incontrovertible proof of election fraud to present to the Supreme Court. Once that evidence is unveiled, in Lindell’s telling, the stunned justices will rule 9-0 to return Trump to the presidency.
But Lindell may need to update his deadline. He originally came to the August date after deciding that the Supreme Court would overturn the election in either April or May, with the summer then devoted to hatching a government-wide consensus that Trump should retake the presidency in August. But both April and May have now passed, without even the hint of a Supreme Court ruling in Trump’s favor or the unveiling of Lindell’s much-touted evidence.
The idea that the election could be overturned with proof of election fraud has become a central idea in the Trump grassroots. Election-fraud theorists have become fixated on the phrase “fraud vitiates everything,” claiming that they just need a shred of proof of election fraud to overturn the entire election. Arizona’s shambolic GOP-backed audit has become so important to Republicans in part because of a “domino theory” that holds that, if Arizona’s ballots could be proven to be fraudulent, then elections in other battleground states that backed Biden would also be overturned.
However, not every luminary in Trumpworld is convinced that a grand reinstatement will occur. On Sunday, Trump’s former senior legal adviser and attorney Jenna Ellis tweeted that though she thinks the 2020 presidential election was “lawless,” she conceded, “No, President Trump is not going to be ‘reinstated.’” Ellis later tweeted, “I’ve spoken with President Trump several times over the past few days about election integrity.”
On Wednesday, Lindell said Ellis’s tweet was “ridiculous” and, “I’ve spoken to lawyers about this and she doesn’t know what she is talking about.”