A theory about The MyPillow Guy's Rose Garden address

Guest speaker at president’s COVID-19 briefing on Monday is a major GOP donor, Trump customer

Monday in the White House Rose Garden during the daily COVID-19 briefing, President Donald J. Trump turned the podium over to CEOs of major U.S. firms Honeywell, Jockey, Procter & Gamble, and United Technologies. Joining those leaders was Michael Lindell, better known as the MyPillow Guy after the company he steers and relentlessly advertises.

Like the other businesses represented Monday, MyPillow is working to stymie the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet Lindell’s appearance behind the presidential seal, where he turned his remarks into a free infomercial, had more than one person wondering

A theory: Since 2015, Lindell has contributed more than $370,000 combined to 40 different Republican candidates and causes, according to data the Center for Responsive Politics compiled. [UPDATE APRIL 1, 2020, 4:23 P.M. Lindell’s GOP contributions actually top $628,000 (H/T Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News).]

And like an extravagant chandelier, Lindell’s a fixture at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump Hotel D.C., and other Trump properties. Some samples from his social media and those of people eager to land a selfie with the celebrated infomercial host—

With Trump in the Trump Hotel D.C.’s priciest suite, the Trump Townhouse (ignore the tagged location, the decor’s a match)

With Trump at one of his golf clubs, which the president retweeted, thanking Lindell

Praising Trump Org EVP’s Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump—businesspeople walled off from their father’s administration—for “everything…you guys do for our country!”

At the Trump Hotel D.C. in February 2018 with Fox News’s Gina Loudon

At Mar-a-Lago in April 2018 with Fox News’s Jeanine Dipirro and The Hill’s James Finkelstein

At the Trump Hotel D.C. in September 2018 after dining with President Trump

At the Trump Hotel D.C. after the State of the Union in February 2019, with adviser for pro-Trump nonprofit America First Policies and lobbyist for a Kuwaiti firm Martha Boneta and Trump Victory finance chair Kimberly Guilfoyle

At Mar-a-Lago in February 2019 celebrating Trump with a member of Brazil’s Congress and the son of the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, Eduardo Bolsonaro

At Mar-a-Lago in March 2019 for a Trump reelection fundraiser with donor Nick Peric, Boneta, tax reform expert Julio Gonzalez, and Rabia Kazan. She’s a Turkish national who contributed $2,800 to a pro-Trump committee, as Roger Sollenberger, Kathleen O’Neil, and Amber Jamieson reported for BuzzFeed News

At the Trump Hotel D.C. after a White House holiday party in December 2019 with former Trump White House staffer Sebastian Gorka, PhD

Poolside at Mar-a-Lago in December 2019 with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–SC)

Celebrating New Year’s 2020 at Mar-a-Lago with Eric Trump and Loudon

At the Trump Hotel D.C. around the time the city hosted the Conservative Political Action Conference and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference

Listed as a speaker at Tea for Trump at the Trump Hotel D.C. in June 2020


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Reference section

Links to rundowns of developments in the House’s investigations and lawsuits, reference sheets for some of 1100 Pennsylvania’s previous reporting, and articles that provide the background on why all of this matters. The date published or last updated is in parentheses.

Trackers

Notable hotel customers

Summaries

  • 25 unimpeachable examples of Trump profiting from his hotel: Foreign governments, Trump administration, GOP lawmakers, industry all have called on the Trump Hotel D.C. since its owner became president (Sept. 27, 2019)

  • Power tripping in the swamp: How Trump’s D.C. hotel swallowed Washington
    The MAGA social scene is a movable feast, but its dark heart resides within the Old Post Office Building, where the Trump Org operates under a mercenary charter” by your correspondent for Vanity Fair (October 2019)

  • Inside the world’s most controversial hotel: The hotel that was expected to take its place among the crown jewels of D.C.’s travel scene has become a magnet for protestors, a West Wing Annex, and—possibly—the center of a constitutional crisis.” by your correspondent for Condé Nast Traveler (May 2018)

Upcoming key dates

  • Sept. 23, 2019—House Judiciary Committee hearing “Presidential corruption: Emoluments and profiting off the presidency” (postponed, not yet rescheduled)

  • March 20, 2020—Status hearing before D.C. Superior Court in former hotel employees’ lawsuit alleging racial discrimination, postponed due to coronavirus-related closure

  • March 31, 2020—Before postponement due to coronavirus-related closure, the Supreme Court was to hear Trump’s appeal of earlier rulings requiring his financial institutions to comply with subpoenas from House Financial Services, Intelligence, and Oversight Committees and the New York district attorney’s office

  • April 6, 2020—Deadline for parties to exchange witness lists in lawsuit alleging a shard of glass from a sabered bottle of champagne left a gash in a customer’s chin

  • June 2020—Before postponement or oral arguments due to a coronavirus-related closure, Supreme Court decision due on Trump’s appeal of earlier rulings requiring his financial institutions to comply with subpoenas from House Financial Services, Intelligence, and Oversight

  • Aug. 10, 2020—Scheduling conference before D.C. Superior Court in D.C. attorney general’s lawsuit alleging improperly spent nonprofit funds by the Trump Hotel D.C. and Trump’s inaugural committee


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