National Kool Aid Day 2021 and Mike Lindell’s ‘Trump Return’ Claim
On July 14 2021, a graphic appeared on Imgur claiming that MyPillow chief executive officer Mike Lindell says that former United States President Donald Trump will be “reinstated” as president despite resoundingly losing to Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden in November 2020. Further, his “reinstatement” is planned for August 13 2021 — a date the meme claims will coincide with “National Kool-Aid Day”:
Text on the meme read:
“My Pillow guy Mike Lindell says August 13th  is the date that Donald Trump will be ‘reinstated.’ Do you know what else is on August 13th? NATIONAL KOOL-AID DAY. For real. It’s the second Friday in August every year. You can’t make this up.”
That text appeared to originate with an uncredited July 10 2021 tweet:
My Pillow guy Mike Lindell says August 13th is the date that Donald Trump will be ‘reinstated’.
Know what else is August 13th?
National Kool-Aid Day. For real. It’s the 2nd Friday in August every year.
You can’t make this sh*t up. pic.twitter.com/HvQDz0q1ZU
— Nick Knudsen 🇺🇸 (@NickKnudsenUS) July 10, 2021
My Pillow guy Mike Lindell says August 13th  is the date that Donald Trump will be ‘reinstated’.
Know what else is August 13th?
National Kool-Aid Day. For real. It’s the 2nd Friday in August every year.
You can’t make this sh*t up.
As we have often observed, claims labeled with “you can’t make this up” are frequently exaggerated or inaccurate. A number of sub-claims appeared in the meme, so we will look at them one by one.
My Pillow Guy Mike Lindell Says August 13th  is the Date That Donald Trump Will Be ‘Reinstated’
On July 6 2021, BusinessInsider.com reported that Lindell, a vocal adherent to election 2020 conspiracy theories, “set August 13  as the date … that Trump will be reinstated as president”:
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell said he believed former President Donald Trump would take the impossible step of being reinstated as president on August 13 .
Speaking to Brannon Howse on the conservative WVW Broadcast Network on Sunday, Lindell said that by that date Trump’s reinstatement would “be the talk of the world.”
“Donald Trump won,” he claimed. “I mean, it’s pretty simple, OK?”
There is no legal path for Trump to be reinstated, as Insider’s Jake Lahut and Grace Panetta reported.
On July 13 2021, Bloomberg.com addressed the “August 13 2021” reinstatement rumors:
It’s the latest baseless prediction from conspiracy theorists on the fringes of social media: Donald Trump will somehow be reinstated as president as soon as next month [August 2021].
Yet the claims — pushed by QAnon adherents and MyPillow CEO and pitchman Mike Lindell — are enough to put FBI Director Christopher Wray and other top national security officials on alert for the risk that the former president’s most ardent supporters might again resort to violence.
Wray and colleagues, stung by criticism that they failed to raise sufficient alarms before the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, are in a bind: Unlike January, when Trump summoned supporters to Washington as part of his effort to block Joe Biden’s certification as president, the threats circulating online are amorphous as to time and place.
Without a good sense of what is credible and what is just online bravado, law enforcement agencies have to stay on alert across the country, according to John Demers, the recently departed head of the Justice Department’s national security division.
What Does ‘Drinking the Kool-Aid’ Mean?
“Drinking the Kool-Aid” is sufficiently popular in American political discourse to have its own Wikipedia entry, describing it as “an expression used to refer to a person who believes in a possibly doomed or dangerous idea because of perceived potential high rewards,” and adding:
The phrase originates from events in Jonestown, Guyana, on November 18, 1978, in which over 900 members of the Peoples Temple movement died. The movement’s leader, Jim Jones, called a mass meeting at the Jonestown pavilion after the murder of U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and others in nearby Port Kaituma. Jones proposed “revolutionary suicide” by way of ingesting a powdered drink mix lethally laced with cyanide and other drugs which had been prepared by his aides.
However, the generally accepted accounting of what happened in Jonestown does not match its history.
A 2014 Washington Post editorial featured the headline: “The phrase ‘drank the Kool-Aid’ is completely offensive. We should stop saying it immediately.” That, as the headline indicated, took a position on the pervasive popularity of the phrase:
There’s a problem with this flip word play though: That expression was born of a nightmare.
Thirty-seven years ago today, 918 people died in Jonestown, a Guyana jungle settlement, and at a nearby airstrip. Some of us knew the victims. I grew up with one of them, Maria Katsaris.
The first news reports made it sound like those who died in Jonestown did so by mass suicide, drinking cyanide-laced drinks (hence the offensive expression). It’s not true. The first murdered at Jonestown were senior citizens, children and babies; the poison was squirted into their mouths. Others thought they were participating in a drill.
It quoted now-Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who was present for the events in Jonestown, about the ubiquitous use of the expression. Speier was 28 at the time, working as an aide to Rep. Leo Ryan (who was shot and killed during the incident; Speier was also shot and left for dead):
There was nothing about it that was a suicide … They were killed, they were murdered, they were massacred. You can’t tell me that an infant or a two-year-old child that was injected with cyanide does so voluntarily. And that horrible phrase now that is part of our language ‘drinking the Kool-Aid’ is always one that sends me into orbit because I think people so misunderstand what took place there.
In 2021, The Atlantic‘s article “Stop Saying ‘Drink the Kool-Aid'” took on another detail in the collective recollection of the massacre; it included the following subheading:
Beyond being grossly overused and conjuring a horrendous massacre, it’s not even technically accurate.
In the article, the phrase as it related to the Jonestown Massacre was addressed from a branding perspective:
In the wake of the tragedy at Jonestown, the phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” became a popular term for blind obedience, as the Temple members had apparently accepted cups of fruity poison willingly. What’s strange is that, according to various accounts, the primary beverage used at Jonestown was actually Flavor Aid (sometimes styled “Flav-R-Aid”) — although there is photographic evidence that packets of both Kool-Aid and Flavor Aid were present at the scene …
Today, the phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” is firmly entrenched in popular language, although the evidence suggests that it should more realistically be either “drink the Flavor Aid/Kool Aid mix” or the even less-catchy suggestion by Al Tompkins of Poynter: “[drink the] grape-flavored drink mix laced with poison.” I think this linguistic horse has left the barn, quenching our thirst for metaphors with it. “OH YEAH!”
What is National [Brand] Day?
Most social media users are familiar with various “National [Thing] Days,” which tend to become trending topics and of which there are many.
NationalDayCalendar.com is not only a resource for determining which “National [Thing] Day” is when, but also enabling businesses to apply to be included on their calendar:
National Day Calendar is the premier destination for brands, nonprofits, and corporations to register an official National Day that aligns with their product or service.
As the #1 trending topic of all time on social media, National Day Calendar offers a powerful media mix of digital, radio, social media and television news platforms that reach a hyper-engaged audience of Celebrators across the United States and around the globe.
Over 20,000 media outlets source their stories from National Day Calendar’s website including Fox and Friends, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen and Elvis Duran to name only a few.
DUE TO A SUBSTANTIAL BACKLOG, WE ARE ONLY ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FROM COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS AT THIS TIME. Thank you.
In 2019, The Atlantic attempted to explain the social media prevalence of “National Days,” and the seemingly non-stop barrage of novel and informal quasi-holidays on sites like Twitter. That article was titled “The Devastating Truth About National Avocado Day,” subtitled “Why millions of people are extremely eager to celebrate fake holidays sponsored by corporations”:
On July 31 , North Korea tested a ballistic missile. Prisoners in Egypt refused food in protest of inhumane treatment. Residents of Baltimore rebuked the president of the United States for calling their district “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Yet for much of the day, the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter was avocados.
People shared recipes and photos, trivia and tales about the fruit. Not because avocados were in the news—not at the center of some controversy or scandal or massacre. It was, simply, National Avocado Day (#NationalAvocadoDay).
This might have struck people in the U.S. as odd, since 80 percent of America’s avocados come from Mexico. But scrutiny for such days tends to be low, evidenced by the now almost daily phenomenon of a trending “national day” blanketing Facebook and Twitter, and even Instagram. As I write this, it’s National Relaxation Day. August also now includes National Dog Day, National Matchmaker Day, and National Sisters Day.
Many of these days are new in the past few years, and a small percentage are recognized by the government. Whimsical as these days seem, the creation and maintenance of national days are a phenomenon with massive financial implications. Many such days are used—or were even specifically invented—to coax people to talk about products and services. This happens on a scale that traditional advertising almost never achieves.
The story noted that former U.S. President Ronald Reagan acknowledged National Ice Cream Day in 1984 to boost dairy sales:
National Avocado Day has no such history. A meal-delivery business in California started it in 2017. The government doesn’t recognize the day, but it’s no less of an excuse to sell products. One publicist emailed me a few weeks ago to see whether I was “planning to cover National Avocado Day” and, if so, whether I would please mention an avocado lip gloss. This year, even Chipotle ran a campaign to “celebrate” National Avocado Day by making guacamole temporarily not extra.
In some cases, industries are simply capitalizing on a national day that already existed—hiring publicists to “raise awareness,” buying promotion of hashtags on social media, and partnering with brands to launch celebratory ad campaigns. In other cases, the industries are now baldly creating the days. But they rarely do so on their own. Avocado Day was started in conjunction with a website called National Day Calendar. So, I find, were many other days, including National Bobblehead Day, National Brazilian Blowout Day, and National Water Balloon Day. Insofar as Google results indicate authority, National Day Calendar is the primary arbiter of national-day reality.
Despite what the name might imply, National Day Calendar—like the days it promotes (including National Avocado Day)—is not affiliated with any governmental agency. National Day Calendar is a privately held organization based in Mandan, the seventh-largest city in North Dakota.
The site did some further digging, determining that the National Day Calendar started around 2012, and noting:
Eventually [founder Marlo] Anderson reasoned, why not start making new days altogether? In the past few years, he estimates that the company has started 150 days. Some included in-person commemorations of the new day; others were done simply with a web page announcing the day. His favorites are National Astronaut Day and National Road Trip Day.
In short, “National Days” in the context described are a fairly recent invention, adopted to generate social media engagement.
National Kool-Aid Day 2021
We consulted NationalDayCalendar.com for August 2021, and “National Kool-Aid Day” was not listed on August 13 or any other date.
Its entries for August 13 and 14 2021 included several different topics, and demonstrated the site accounted for days that fell on a different numerical date from year to year. August 13 2021 was, incidentally, listed as “National Blame Someone Else Day”:
- National Prosecco Day
- National Filet Mignon Day
- International Left Handers Day
- National Blame Someone Else Day – First Friday the 13th of the Year (August 13, 2021)
- National V-J Day
- National Creamsicle Day
- National Code Talkers Day
- National Bowling Day – Second Saturday in August
- National Garage Sale Day – Second Saturday in August
Given the background on NationalDayCalendar.com’s approval of national days and the site’s own stated preference for “companies and organizations” upon which to bestow the honor, the absence of National Kool-Aid Day was odd. However, the site featured an August 2018 entry, “NATIONAL KOOL-AID DAYS – 2nd Weekend in August,” which began:
Oh yeeeeeeeaaaaah! Kool-Aid Days during the second weekend of August recognizes the invention of Edwin Perkins in 1927. The event takes place annually in Hastings, Nebraska. Weekend activities include live musical entertainment, an auction and a beauty pageant known as “Miss Kool-Aid Days.”A Nebraska businessman, Perkins originally marketed the soft drink as “Kool-Ade.” Of the original six flavors, cherry, grape, orange, lemon, and root beer, the inventor’s personal favorite came in raspberry. Perkins said he was inspired by the successes of Jello and Coca-Cola.
In the context gleaned from NationalDayCalendar.com and The Atlantic‘s article, it sounded as if something initially called “Kool-Aid Days” came well before NationalDayCalendar.com.
We found a website devoted to the annual “Kool-Aid Days” event. That site, kool-aiddays.com, didn’t include any information about the origins or purpose of Kool-Aid Days, nor did it explain how old the “festival” was. It did, however, contradict the claim that August 13 2021 was “National Kool-Aid Day”:
Per the event’s homepage, the Kool-Aid Days Festival (not “National Kool-Aid Day”) was scheduled for August 20, 21, and 22 2021 — not August 13 2021. A separate site, Checkiday.com, also focused on various national days and their origins and did make mention of that date on its “National Kool-Aid Day” entry.
Noting that National Kool-Aid Day was celebrated on the “second Friday in August since 1998,” the page began:
Enjoy a refreshing glass of Kool-Aid today! National Kool-Aid Day coincides with the first day of Kool-Aid Days each year, which is always celebrated on the second weekend of August in Hastings, Nebraska, the city where Kool-Aid was created. Hastings’ Kool-Aid Days began in 1998, the same year that Kool-Aid was named Nebraska’s official state drink.
In 2021, August 13 fell on the second Friday of the month. A sidebar of “Dates” for National Kool-Aid Day read:
- August 9th, 2019
- August 14th, 2020
- August 13th, 2021
- August 12th, 2022
- August 11th, 2023
However, Checkiday.com cited several sources for the “date” of “National Kool-Aid Day,” none of which evidenced any consensus for “National Kool-Aid Day”:
Most linked sources mentioned the Kool-Aid Days festival, not National Kool-Aid Day. For instance, one “source” was Wikipedia’s “Kool-Aid” page, which read:
Hastings still celebrates a yearly summer festival called Kool-Aid Days on the second weekend in August in honor of their city’s claim to fame. Kool-Aid is known as Nebraska’s official soft drink.
In short, if any particular date was “National Kool-Aid Day,” it was not a matter of consensus. NationalDayCalendar.com only mentioned the Kool-Aid Days festival, and did not include a “National Kool-Aid Day” on its calendar.
Although the dates given for National Kool-Aid Day were often described as the second weekend in August, the Kool-Aid Days festival was scheduled for August 20 through August 22 2021.
A viral meme claimed that “My Pillow guy Mike Lindell says August 13th  is the date that Donald Trump will be ‘reinstated,'” and added that the date coincided with “National Kool-Aid Day.” The claim alluded to a popular but unpleasant expression about “Drinking the Kool-Aid,” commonly understood to mean adopting an unrealistic political belief. Despite the meme’s “[you] can’t make this up,” we found little evidence a National Kool-Aid Day existed on August 13 2021 or any specific day. Some sources appeared to conflate a long-running Kool-Aid Days weekend festival as “National Kool-Aid Day 2021,” but that event was scheduled to begin on August 20 2021.
- "My Pillow guy Mike Lindell says August 13th  is the date that Donald Trump will be 'reinstated.' Do you know what else is on August 13th? NATIONAL KOOL-AID DAY. For real. It's the second Friday in August every year. You can't make this up." | Imgur
- My Pillow guy Mike Lindell says August 13th is the date that Donald Trump will be ‘reinstated’. Know what else is August 13th? National Kool-Aid Day. For real. It’s the 2nd Friday in August every year. You can’t make this sh*t up.
- Mike Lindell set August 13 as the date in his bonkers theory that Trump will be reinstated as president
- Conspiracy Theory About Trump Comeback Puts FBI on Alert for Violence
- Drinking the Kool-Aid
- Stop Saying 'Drink the Kool-Aid'
- The phrase ‘drank the Kool-Aid’ is completely offensive. We should stop saying it immediately.
- REGISTER A NATIONAL DAY
- The Devastating Truth About National Avocado Day
- National Kool Aid Day 2021
- NATIONAL KOOL-AID DAYS – 2nd Weekend in August
- National Kool Aid Day 2021
- National Kool-Aid Day