A flurry of comments from media talking heads arose following a White House appearance of Mike Lindell, owner of MyPillow, who encouraged people to go back to reading the Bible.
Lindell is utilizing his Minnesota-based factory, normally used to make pillows and sheets, to make 50,000 face masks per day for healthcare workers and others at no cost during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During his remarks from the Rose Garden, Lindell urged Americans to pray and prioritize their families. He also praised President Donald Trump effusively for his handling of the disease outbreak and said that Election Day in 2016 was a chance for the United States to turn back to God.
“God gave us grace on November 8, 2016, to change the course we were on,” Lindell said. “God had been taken out of our schools and lives, a nation had turned its back on God. I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the Word. Read our Bibles and spend time with our families.”
An executive editor at CNN, Ram Ramgopal, retweeted the video of Lindell’s White House appearance along with the comments: “In case you were wondering what My Pillow is doing in a time of coronavirus.”
MSNBC’s Ali Velshi and Joy Reid were incredulous.
“Please tell me this is a prank,” Reid complained on Twitter, upon hearing Lindell was part of the presidential briefings on Twitter.
Norm Ornstein, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, called Lindell an “awful human being.”
By contrast, The Hill’s Joe Concha said the controversy was contrived.
“Here’s how you know the outrage over My Pillow’s Mike Lindell is phony and selective: CEOs of other private companies reallocating many of its resources to win this war have also spoken at task force briefings. And you didn’t hear one complaint or see any snark about that,” he tweeted.
Lindell’s presence was part of the Trump administration’s efforts to stop the spread of the disease utilizing the private sector.
Not everyone in the media was offended by Lindell’s invoking of God and prayer as it relates to the public health crisis.
Writing in the Washington Examiner Tuesday, Kaylee McGhee that in light of the undesirable present circumstances, many turn to faith and the hope that it provides. Though Lindell’s faith in Trump’s Christian aspirations are misplaced, she added, his values are important.
“For most people, faith and family are grounding forces, a source of comfort — especially at moments like this one. That’s why more Americans than ever are praying daily; why governors and mayors across the country have declared days of fasting and prayer; and why Google searches for terms such as ‘God’ have skyrocketed over the past few weeks. We are desperate for peace. Faith in a power greater than the crisis we currently face can provide just that,” she wrote.
“Sure, maybe Lindell should not have used his camera time to scold a hurting nation. But much of the anger directed toward him has nothing to do with the manner in which he addressed the country and everything to do with his religious message.”
Lindell is a former crack cocaine addict who has established a recovery network to help other addicts. He started his now-famous business out of his basement.