Anderson Cooper just exposed the coronavirus quackery of one of Donald Trump's most loyal allies

CNN's Anderson Cooper has a fiery interview with Mike Lindell, the creator of MyPillow and an avowed Trump supporter, on his promotion of an unproven coronavirus therapeutic, of which Lindell has said President Trump is "enthusiastic" about.

Posted: Aug 19, 2020 6:10 AM
Updated: Aug 19, 2020 6:10 AM

Mike Lindell (aka the "MyPillow Guy") has long been one of Donald Trump's staunchest allies. He's called Trump the "greatest president" ever and suggested that Trump was chosen by God for the role.

And because Trump likes people who like him, the President has been similarly complimentary of Lindell. "Boy, do you sell those pillows," Trump told Lindell at an event at the White House in March. (Lindell's pillow, which is touted for its comfort, has made him a multimillionaire.) Lindell has also claimed that Trump has urged him to run for office.

But Trump has done more than just praise Lindell. He allowed Lindell to take part in a July White House meeting about the potential therapeutic properties of something called oleandrin, an extract from the oleander plant.

"He was enthusiastic, as he is on everything that's going to help people," Lindell told CNN of Trump's reaction to the extract and its possible uses, including as a potential therapeutic for coronavirus. (Important note: Neither Lindell nor Trump are medical doctors or infectious disease experts.)

And in an, uh, interesting coincidence, Lindell was added to the board of (and received a financial stake in) Phoenix Biotechnology, which produced oleadrin, earlier this month.

All of which brings me to Tuesday, when Lindell was interviewed by CNN's Anderson Cooper. It was, by any objective measure, an absolute and total disaster for Lindell -- and oleandrin.

Lindell began the interview by recounting how, shortly after he asked the entire country to pray for a solution to the coronavirus pandemic, he was contacted -- on Easter Sunday! -- by the maker of oleandrin. He immediately took the notion to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, who is an actual medical doctor, despite the fact that there had been no peer-reviewed studies of the efficacy (or not) of the extract. Lindell told Cooper he felt that the 1,000 people who had taken oleandrin in 2016 -- long before Covid-19 existed -- and not had any adverse reactions was proof enough.

That led to this epic exchange (it's long, but soooo worth your while):

Lindell: Well, the 1,000 people are out there. I don't know if you can't find it. But I'm not a medical doctor. I just know that Ben Carson, who's on the task force, he brought it to the President, going --

Cooper: OK. But, stop, sir. Ben Carson has in the past been paid to promote supplements and got in trouble for it in 2015. So he has a track record on that. You are telling people that this cures Covid. You have no studies to prove it. And you are saying 1,000 people were tested --

Lindell: You know what: I got my own study. When I took the -- When I've seen the test of 1,000 people that it was safe. That's all I needed.

Cooper: Sir, OK, if you've seen this test, where is this test?

Lindell: I've been taking it since April. I've been taking it since April. I have 100 friends and family -- this thing works. It's the miracle of all time.

Cooper: You said -- Sir, you said you've seen this test, where is it?

Lindell: The tests are out there. The thousand people -- phase one, phase two.

Cooper: Where is the test? Show it to us.

Lindell: I don't have the test.

Whoa boy. And it only got worse from there.

Lindell claimed that the "FDA has had it since April" and accused Cooper of misconstruing him "because the media's trying to take away this amazing cure that works for everybody."

(Note: The FDA has not approved oleandrin. The agency generally does not approve dietary supplements, but says it's the company's responsibility to make sure its products are safe and claims are true. FDA has gone after hundreds of products for making false claims about diagnosing, preventing or treating Covid-19.)

Cooper responded to Lindell with this:

"Sir, just for our viewers, 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. ... And you stand to make money from it. How do you sleep at night?"

Lindell kept at it, noting, "this works and I'm standing by what I believe in. I have no monetary gain here." (That last part is demonstrably false.)

He suggested Cooper "probably" sleeps on a MyPillow. (Cooper said he doesn't.)

And he insisted that he had done "my due diligence and studies with the Covid and humans and not published yet." (Er, OK.)

These are the people who Trump has elevated to positions of power and influence as the country continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic. People who do what he does -- push unproven cures (hydroxychloroquine! bleach injections! -- without any sense of the damage they are doing to those who follow them most ardently.

Kudos to Anderson for exposing just how thin the "science" on claims like the ones Lindell are making really are. Swallowing Lindell's junk science isn't just embarrassing. It could be dangerous.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
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Miami542488
Putnam536768
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Jay254837
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Crawford146018
Newton144345
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Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
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