Updated: June 4, 2015, 7:40 AM EDT
At some point over the past month, one of the most colorful, pugnacious, and bizarre candidates for the Republican Party nomination sputtered out — and almost no one noticed.
The man in question is Dennis Michael Lynch, who launched his campaign for President on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show last October.
“I’m absolutely in love with my country,” Lynch told Kelly.”I’m in love with the American people.”
Lynch is a filmmaker, an entrepreneur and a native of Long Island, New York. He is a man who has said that ISIS is already operating in America (he’s seen the “prayer rugs”) and that “an abundance of Chinese” are crossing the border to bring on a “cyber 9/11.”
He’s always been a welcome presence on Fox News and even got a spot on MSNBC to discuss his anti-immigration films “They Come To America” and its sequel, “They Come To America II.”
Despite all this, his fellow GOP candidates didn’t appear to take his campaign seriously.
“Don’t ignore him,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told the Washington Post in April. “I will, though, because I don’t know who he is.”
Still, earlier this year in an interview with the conservative news site The Daily Caller, Lynch boasted — “with all humility” — that he was “the GOP’s JFK” and plugged his firebrand speeches.
“You’ve got to watch it,” he said of one of his addresses to a Tea Party crowd. “Just see the way the people react.”
No one can watch it now, however. The video has been made private on YouTube, as have several other videos of his speeches (including one where he repeatedly cued up the song “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and fist-bumped seemingly every child in the audience).
A snippet of the video can be seen in this clip from Fox News of his announcement:
He has also deleted his Twitter account and scrubbed the last few months of his Facebook page. His website, DML2016.com, now simply redirects to a page selling his DVDs. (Lynch’s website did not return a request for comment on Wednesday.)
No media outlet has reported the campaign’s demise, but a post Saturday on Lynch’s Facebook page confirmed that he had packed it in.
Although my hat is no longer in the ring, and I will be cutting back on the long hours and crazy travel schedule, I remain passionate about the borders, American workers, and our veterans. They Come to America 3 is up next.
Lynch looks and sounds like a combination of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Fox News host Sean Hannity, who invites him on Fox often. Throughout his six-month campaign he showed up to speeches with free copies of his DVDs in hand.
He also employed a lot of gimmicks, such as taking a fake call from President Obama, in which he slaps around the imaginary man on the receiver. He would produce a cross that he said was made of metal from the site of 9/11, given to him by a family member of a victim whom he said blessed his presidential campaign with the power of “3,000 angels.”
His rhetoric was Palin-esque: Lynch told the New Hampshire Republican Leadership Summit in April that he knew how to turn America back into a “championship team” because he literally coached his son’s football team. He also said he had the bravery to walk into South Chicago by himself “without a gun” to look for solutions to poverty. (“I wasn’t there to buy drugs,” he noted.)
Below is a clip that has survived his video purge, from a talk given in Phoenix in 2013. Lynch told the predominately greying crowd that he knew how to “make conservatism cool again” — he started by growing a beard.
“If you wonder why I haven’t shaved for you tonight, it’s because I’m not targeting you,” he said. “I’m targeting those young kids who are working that booth outside.”
“Conservativism is awesome,” he added.
National security was another self-described strength: “Ask how many of these guys actually lived 9/11 — who ran from the Twin Towers?” Lynch said to the Daily Caller in an article published in April. “I’m the only one.”
“I’ve been on Fox,” he added. “Being on Fox doesn’t mean that you should be the President. It doesn’t mean that you should be in the line. But it certainly does mean that you’ve been vetted out to a certain degree.”
But in the same interview, Lynch seemed to realize his campaign wasn’t long for this world. He hinted that if he didn’t make a splash at that New Hampshire conference — hoping for what he called a “Ben Carson moment” — he might have to rethink his whole mission.
“I’ve spent more money on this than I’ve made this year,” he told the Caller. “This is hurting me.”
Now, “DML 2016” is over. But Lynch the filmmaker still has his camera, and it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll use his craft to put some pressure on the crowded GOP field, to see if they too, are in love with the people of America.
TPM illustration by Christine Frapech. Images via Fox News and Shutterstock/Anatoly Tiplyashin/Tribalium.