CNN’s Anderson Cooper tore into “MyPillow guy” Mike Lindell and his latest promotion of an unproven “miracle” COVID-19 cure, accusing the pillow manufacturer in an interview Tuesday of being another “snake oil salesman” who’s trying to profit off the pandemic.
“How do you sleep at night?” Cooper pointedly asked Lindell, a devout supporter of President Donald Trump who has been promoting the use of oleandrin, an extract from the plant Nerium oleander, as a treatment for the coronavirus.
Lindell, who now sits on the board of oleandrin drug developer Phoenix Biotechnology, met with Trump last month to discuss oleandrin’s potential use despite there being no scientific proof that it can fight the virus.
“You have no medical background, you’re not a scientist. A guy called you in April, said he had this product. You are now on the board and going to make money from the sale of this product,” Cooper said.
“I have no monetary gain here,” the MyPillow CEO defended himself.
“That’s not true,” Cooper interjected. “You’re gonna make money off this. You’re on the board of this company.”
“The media is just trying to take away this amazing cure that works for everybody,” Lindell insisted at one point. But he did not provide any supporting evidence, including details about an alleged clinical trial that he said he read about.
Phoenix Biotechnology’s website states that the Food and Drug Administration approved its plans to pursue clinical trials of oleandrin as a treatment for cancer patients several years ago, but not for COVID-19.
The company last month also promoted an article ― co-authored by a Phoenix Biotechnology scientist and a paid Phoenix Biotechnology consultant ― that examined oleandrin’s potential use in fighting the coronavirus. The website hosting the article noted that the information was not peer-reviewed and that it should not “be reported in news media as established information.”
A representative for Phoenix Biotechnology did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on Lindell’s comments.
Cooper’s scrutiny of Lindell and his sales pitch follows the salesman’s White House visit in July to discuss the drug’s potential pandemic use. “He was enthusiastic, as he is on everything that’s going to help people,” Lindell told CNN about Trump’s reaction after that meeting.
Facing a mounting U.S. death toll from COVID-19 and low poll numbers in his bid for reelection this November, Trump has been an advocate for unproven coronavirus cures. These include the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which scientific studies have found is ineffective against the virus.
A few weeks after speaking with Trump about oleandrin’s potential wonders, Lindell was added to the board of Phoenix Biotechnology.
In his CNN interview this week, he argued that he wouldn’t attempt to promote a fake cure because it would ruin his reputation.
“You don’t have a great reputation, sir,” Cooper fired back before pointing out MyPillow’s F rating from the Better Business Bureau. Lindell claimed that was unfairly given to his company because of his public support for Trump.