MITCHELL, S.D. — A crowd of 1,650 was at the Corn Palace on Monday night, May 10, for the Frank Rally, which was set to be the rollout of conservative personality Mike Lindell’s much-hyped social media platform.
Lindell, famous for creating the MyPillow company and for his claims that the 2020 U.S. presidential election was fraudulent, was rolling out “Frank,” which he said would promise free speech and fight back against “cancel culture.”
Lindell spoke for nearly 90 minutes, serving as the crescendo for the crowd in attendance after seeing a number of conservative personalities for the prior two hours.
Lindell said he will be using the web platform — which he had described as a mixture of YouTube and Twitter — to display evidence to back up his claims about the election over the next five to six weeks, with the intent of changing minds and influencing Americans.
He says his evidence shows that China corrupted election machines and changed the voting results in the election, denying Donald Trump from winning by 14 million votes. Lindell’s goal, he said, is for regular citizens to put significant pressure on the U.S. Supreme Court to look at the evidence. He said if that happens, Trump will be back in office as president by August.
“They will have to protect our country and it’s going to be a 9-0 vote to pull the election down,” Lindell said, adding that “evil is overplaying its hand” in politics in this country.
Lindell, who told the crowd that he doesn’t know anything about cybersecurity or informational technology, said he has kept his name in the news since November to help spread his claims about the election being fraudulent.
“We have to keep speaking out and spreading the evidence,” he said, adding that he has created a “legal offense fund,” that would raise money to “save this country.”
He said he would be fighting this corruption “if the shoe was on the other foot,” and Trump had won and Biden claimed he was cheated. Lindell said he will also use his platform to put a spotlight on what the government is doing and allow people to decide who its work is helping.
Lindell acknowledged he has been asked to run for office, but said he “wouldn’t run to be dogcatcher” if voting machines are used, saying they are all corrupt.
A big buildup
Prior to the event, the Minnesota native said his social media platform will promise free speech but bans slurs against Black Americans and women, the f-word and taking the Lord's name in vain.
The rollout on Monday came after a failed digital rollout in mid-April, when technical issues plagued it. At the front door, attendees were handed gray canvas bags that had the block text of his “Frank” logo. In the bags were Lindell’s autobiography and copies of his film “Absolute Proof” alleging fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Lindell, 59, has spread the conspiracy that voting software had technology to switch votes from Trump to Joe Biden, a claim that has been thoroughly debunked. Lindell says the lawsuits from Dominion are part of a “cancel culture” attempt to silence voices.
On Monday, the doors to the Corn Palace opened at 4 p.m., allowing some rally-goers into the building after a seven-hour wait along Mitchell’s Main Street. For much of the next hour, a line to get into the building snaked around the Corn Palace Plaza and down Lawler Street toward Sixth Avenue.
The buildup included a 15-minute address from Ben Carson, the former Republican presidential candidate in 2016 and the secretary of Housing and Urban Development
“There’s no place like the United States of America,” Carson said, appearing via video. “We recognize that our rights and our liberty comes from God, not from government. And that makes us very unique.”
Entertainer Joe Piscopo, famous for his time as a performer on "Saturday Night Live," was the opening act for Lindell, performing on the stage for about an hour.
“We’re a good people,” Piscopo said to the crowd. “We’re not racist. I travel around the country and we’re a good country. … They are criticizing us every which way, and tonight, it stops.”
Piscopo, 69, led the crowd in a jazzy, swing version of the national anthem and worked the crowd, shouting out veterans and country music and saying he is a proud Catholic.
Piscopo, who hosts a conservative-focused radio show in New York City, got one of the biggest reactions of the night when he called the pandemic “technically over” and then asked the crowd if they got vaccinated. A large swath of the crowd then responded by saying “Nooo.”
When his microphone was having technical problems on the Corn Palace stage, Piscopo alleged it was the Chinese interfering, before saying you can’t have free speech in America in the 21st century. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were also in the crosshairs for “running the country” and silencing free speech, he said.
Also speaking was Christian author and radio host Eric Metaxas, who led the crowd in the opening verse of “Amazing Grace,” leading to Lindell coming on stage.
“People are being persecuted around the world because their governments don’t believe in God,” Metaxas said. “When you push God out, freedoms go away. It’s what we’re seeing right now; it’s why we’re starting Frank Speech.”
A number of supporters in the crowds showed their support for Lindell and Trump. There was a “Trump Train” flag at the front of the line during the day Monday, and inside the Corn Palace, a sign claimed “Trump Really Won.”
In an early part of the event, members of the crowd said they were attending from South Dakota, and from states including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa and Texas.
There were some small factions of counter-protesting. A man in the parking lot across the street was selling pro-hemp T-shirts, with a sign teasing South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem: “Garden Gnomes Good! Kristi Noem? Not So Much.” In front of the Palace’s main doors, three women held a sign that said, “Biden is President.”