(FiveNation.com)- During a Rose Garden event in late March 2020, President Trump invited several private company CEOs who were working with the administration in providing supplies to combat the novel coronavirus. In addition to the CEOs of Honeywell, Jockey International, and Procter & Gamble, was CEO of MyPillow, Mike Lindell.
Lindell, a staunch Trump supporter, offered to manufacture as many as 50,000 masks a day to help meet the demand from hospitals in the early days of the pandemic.
Well Lindell was interviewed for an article published last week in the Daily Beast titled “The Spectacular Failure of MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell’s Mask Operation.”
In the interview, Lindell told the Daily Beast that after retrofitting about 75% of MyPillow’s manufacturing line to sew cloth masks, “I can’t give them away.”
The machinery and space Lindell invested for mask manufacturing is now idle and empty and thousands of cloth masks now sit in storage.
“Anyone can have them now,” Lindell said. “I don’t care.”
Lindell blames the lack of demand on several things, but primarily blames cheaper foreign-made masks undercutting prices.
It didn’t take long after that March Rose Garden event before the country was saturated with FDA-approved masks. Foreign businesses flooded the US with their cheaper masks which choked out domestic manufacturers. As a result Hanes and Fruit of the Loom both dropped their commitment to supply masks. But Lindell forged ahead.
Lindell originally planned to donate his MyPillow masks to VA Hospitals and nursing homes. But both the FDA and CDC would only approve the use of N95 and KN95 masks for use in such settings. With his manufactured masks rejected, Lindell instead purchased the proper masks from other manufacturers and donated them to nursing homes and police departments, as well as sending them to overseas ministries.
Lindell also donated a million masks to a Navajo tribe in Arizona.
In addition the money invested in his own mask manufacturing, Lindell estimates that he spent another $4 million on purchasing the FDA-approved masks. Making his total outlay about seven million dollars.