Nine months after the storm on the US Capitol in Washington D.C. there should be a new version of protests by supporters of Donald Trump in front of the American parliament. This was announced by the confidante of the former US President Matt Braynard in Steve Bannon’s podcast. Braynard was a data strategist in Trump’s 2016 election campaign. The demonstration is to take place under the motto „Justice for J6“. Matt Braynard wants to express his solidarity with the „political prisoners“ who were arrested in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, reports the Huffpost. “We’re going back to the Capitol, right where it started. It’s going to be huge, ”Braynard said on Steve Bannon’s podcast. „We’re going to push back the false stories of a riot,“ said Braynard. It should be made more and more difficult for the left to speak of an uprising. The crowd was mostly peaceful and in many cases provoked by the Capitol police, the Trump confidante claimed. He ignores videos that show the violence of the rioters against the police. The protest in front of the Capitol is due to take place on September 18. The march is organized by Braynard’s group “Look Ahead America”, which pretends to campaign for disenfranchised, patriotic citizens of the USA. Braynard announced important speakers. Congressmen are also said to be among them. However, according to Huffpost, he did not specify who exactly will perform.
The rally is planned to take place on the Western side of the Capitol, reports Huffpost. From there, the rioters invaded the Capitol on January 6, 2021 after Donald Trump asked them to fight much harder. Braynard says the Capitol protest has already been approved by the Metropolitan Police. A police spokesman did not want to confirm this at the request of the Huffpost. The Capitol Police knew about it, however. The new march on the Capitol is only intended to support peaceful protesters on January 6th. Matt Braynard also includes Ashli Babbit, reports Huffpost. She died while storming the Capitol after climbing through the window of a barricaded door and being shot by a police officer. Braynard claims she was executed.
Donald Trump met with a group of confidants on Saturday (July 31, 2021). Republican Party politician Madison Cawthorn, who sits in the House of Representatives, posted a video of the meeting. Shortly afterwards he deleted it again. A day earlier, Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said that Donald Trump was meeting with „cabinet members“ and developing plans for the future. In the video of the meeting, a man explains that a “special group” is planning a demonstration. However, it is unclear whether it is related to the march to the Capitol initiated by Matt Braynard. Matt Braynard did not know about the video and made it clear that the event mentioned in the video had nothing to do with his demonstration, according to the Huffpost. Meanwhile, entrepreneur and Trump confidante Mike Lindell believes that Donald Trump will soon present evidence to the Supreme Court showing that China stole the 2020 US election. Lindell expects the court to repeat the election. He previously revised his statement that Trump would be back in the White House in mid-August.
Lindell is CEO of the company MyPillow and supports Trump and Bannon. Anne Applebaum met with him and wrote an portray with the title “The MyPillow Guy Really Could Destroy Democracy”in The Atlantic:
“I met Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, in the recording studio that occupies the basement of Steve Bannon’s stately Capitol Hill townhouse, a few blocks from the Supreme Court—the same Supreme Court that will, according to Lindell, decide “9–0” in favor of reinstating Donald Trump to the presidency sometime in August, or possibly September. I made it through the entirety of the Trump presidency without once having to meet Bannon but here he was, recording his War Room podcast with Lindell. Bannon has been decomposing in front of our eyes for some years now, and I can report that this process continues to take its course. I walked in during a break and the two men immediately gestured to me to join the conversation, sit at the table with them, listen in on headphones. I demurred. “Anne Applebaum … hmm,” Bannon said. “Should’ve stuck to writing books. Gulag was a great book. How long did it take you to write it?”(…)
But there is a distinctly American element to his thinking too. The argument from personal experience; the evidence acquired on the journey from crack addict to CEO; the special kind of self-confidence that many self-made men acquire, along with their riches—these are native to our shores. Lindell is quite convinced, for example, that not only did China steal the election, but that “there is a communist agenda in this country” more broadly. I asked him what that meant. Communists, he told me, “take away your right to free speech. You just told me what they are doing to these people”—he meant the Uyghurs. “I’ve experienced it firsthand, more than anyone in this country.”
The government had taken his freedom away? Put him in a reeducation camp? “I don’t see anybody arresting you,” I said. He became annoyed.
“Okay, I’m not talking about the government,” he said. “I’m talking about social media. Why did they attack me? Why did bots and trolls attack all of my vendors? I was the No. 1 selling product of every outlet in the United States—every one, every single one, all of them drop like flies. You know why? Because bots and troll groups were hired. They were hired to attack. Well, now I’ve done investigations. They come out of a building in China.”
It is true that there has been some organized backlash against MyPillow, which is indeed no longer stocked by Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, and other retailers. But I suspect that this reaction is every bit as red-white-and-blue as Lindell himself: Plenty of Americans oppose Lindell’s open promotion of both election and vaccine conspiracy theories, and are perfectly capable of boycotting his company without the aid of Chinese bots. Lindell’s lived experience, however, tells him otherwise, just like his lived experience tells him that COVID-19 vaccines will kill you and oleandrin won’t. Lived experience always outweighs expertise: Nobody can argue with what you feel to be true, and Lindell feels that the Chinese stole the election, sent bots to smear his company, and are seeking to impose communism on America.
Although he describes the packet captures as “cyberforensics”—indisputable, absolute, irreversible proof of Chinese evildoing—Lindell is more careful about evidence that isn’t “nonsubjective.” When I asked him how exactly Joe Biden’s presidency was serving the interests of the Chinese Communist Party, for example, his reasoning became more circuitous. He didn’t want to say that Joe Biden is himself a Communist. Instead, when I asked for evidence of communist influence on Biden, he said this: “Inauguration Day—I’ll tell you—Inauguration Day, he laid off 50,000 union workers. Boom! Pipeline gone. The old Democrat Party wouldn’t lay off union workers.”
In other words, the evidence of Joe Biden’s links to the Chinese Communist Party was … his decision to close the Keystone XL pipeline. Similarly convoluted reasoning has led him to doubt the patriotism of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey as well as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, all of whom deny the existence of serious electoral cheating in their states. “My personal opinion,” he told me, is that “Brian Kemp is somehow compromised and maybe could be blackmailed or in on it or whatever. I believe Raffensperger’s totally in on it.”
In on what? I asked.
“In on whatever’s going on …”
I asked if he meant the Chinese takeover of America. Was Raffensperger pro-China?
“I believe he’s pro-China.”
Alongside the American business boosterism, Lindell’s thinking contains a large dose of Christian millenarianism too. This is a man who had a vision in a dream of himself and Donald Trump standing together—and that dream became reality. No wonder he believes that a lot of things are going to happen after August 10.
And now Lindell is spending on more than just advertising. Last January—on the 9th, he says carefully, placing the date after the 6th—a group of still-unidentified concerned citizens brought him some computer data. These were, allegedly, packet captures, intercepted data proving that the Chinese Communist Party altered electoral results … in all 50 states. This is a conspiracy theory more elaborate than the purported Venezuelan manipulation of voting machines, more improbable than the allegation that millions of supposedly fake ballots were mailed in, more baroque than the belief that thousands of dead people voted. This one has potentially profound geopolitical implications.
That’s why Lindell has spent money—a lot of it, “tens of millions,” he told me—“validating” the packets, and it’s why he is planning to spend a lot more. Starting on August 10, he is holding a three-day symposium in Sioux Falls (because he admires South Dakota’s gun-toting governor, Kristi Noem), where the validators, whoever they may be, will present their results publicly. He has invited all interested computer scientists, university professors, elected federal officials, foreign officials, reporters, and editors to the symposium. He has booked, he says variously, “1,000 hotel rooms” or “all the hotel rooms in the city” to accommodate them. (As of Wednesday, Booking.com was still showing plenty of rooms available in Sioux Falls.)
Wacky though it seems for a businessman to invest so much in a conspiracy theory, there are important historical precedents. Think of Olof Aschberg, the Swedish banker who helped finance the Bolshevik revolution, allegedly melting down the bars of gold that Lenin’s comrades stole in train robberies and reselling them, unmarked, on European exchanges. Or Henry Ford, whose infamous anti-Semitic tract, The International Jew, was widely read in Nazi Germany, including by Hitler himself. Plenty of successful, wealthy people think that their knowledge of production technology or private equity gives them clairvoyant insight into politics. But Aschberg, Ford, and Lindell represent the extreme edge of that phenomenon: Their business success gives them the confidence to promote malevolent conspiracy theories, and the means to reach wide audiences.
In the cases of Aschberg and Ford, this had tragic, real-world consequences. Lindell hasn’t created Ford-level havoc yet, but the potential is there. Along with Bannon, Giuliani, and the rest of the conspiracy posse, he is helping create profound distrust in the American electoral system, in the American political system, in the American public-health system, and ultimately in American democracy. The eventual consequences of their actions may well be a genuinely stolen or disputed election in 2024, and political violence on a scale the U.S. hasn’t seen in decades. You can mock Lindell, dismiss him, or call him a crackhead, but none of this will seem particularly funny when we truly have an illegitimate president in the White House and a total breakdown of law and order.
In the Trumpist worldview “Beijing- Biden” is a product of Chinese meddling in the elections and some sort of illegitimate Manchurian candidate of the Communist Party of China, while the Democrats often enough claimed that Trump was a Manchurian candidate of Putin and Russian interference and manipulation during the elections. It remains to be seen if the demonstration will materialize as planned, how much supporters will come, if it is peaceful or militant or just a new storm on Capitol Hill. However, this time the USA hopefully might be better prepared to counter such a storm. But it shows that most of the media silence about Trump, doesn´t stop him to prepare very actively for the next storm and reelection in 2024 at latest.