MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell - who has been pushing, with the president's apparent support, an unproven coronavirus treatment that could possibly be toxic - said Tuesday he was asked by the administration to gather leads on potential treatments for the White House coronavirus task force.
Lindell told CNN host Anderson Cooper that "this great administration" asked him to "bring back to the [White House coronavirus] task force" anything that is promising to fight coronavirus, be they "good sanitizers or cures."
Lindell and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson have been privately promoting a drug called Oleandrin to Trump, who said in July that "the FDA should be approving it," Axios' Jonathan Swan reported.
Trump seemed to support the extract - which Forbes contributor Bruce Y. Lee called "an extract from a highly toxic plant with no real proof that it works against SARS-CoV2 infections in humans." - telling reporters on Monday that he will "look at it."
Lindell - who has no medical degrees - was slammed in the interview for pushing the drug to Trump while serving on the board of directors for Phoenix Biotechnology, a company manufacturing the extract, with Cooper alleging he "stands to make money from this."
Cooper also questioned the scientific veracity of Lindell's claim that the drug has been "tested by over 1,000 people," asserting, "there are no public peer-reviewed studies about this" and demanding Lindell produce the test, to which Lindell replied "I don't have the test."
"You have no medical background, there is no evidence of this substance, it hasn't been tested in animals or humans," Cooper castigated Lindell, labeling him a "snake oil salesman."
"The involvement of the Secretary of HUD and MyPillow.com in pushing a dubious product at the highest levels should give Americans no comfort at night about their health and safety during a raging pandemic," a senior Trump administration official told Axios.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has had a tendency to embrace unproven drugs as possible coronavirus miracle cures and praise questionable sources of scientific information. Trump frequently touted anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine, even going so far as to take the drug prophylactically in May despite an NIH warning against its use to ward off coronavirus. Trump also praised Dr. Stella Immanuel - a self-proclaimed " deliverance minister" who has claimed that some gynecological affiliations are brought on by " demon sperm " - for a misleading video touting Hydroxychloroquine and dismissing masks and lockdowns, calling her "very impressive" and an "important voice," at a White House briefing in July.
This isn't Dr. Carson's first time landing in hot water for promoting dubious medical supplements. He was questioned at a 2016 GOP primary debate over his speeches he gave with Mannatech, a Texas-based company that sells blends of plant extracts called "glyconutrients." Carson downplayed his relationship with the company at the debate, saying "I did a couple of speeches for them. I do speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them." In the same breath, however, he promoted Mannatech's products, stating, "Do I take the product? Yes, I think it's a good product."Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus
I am a news desk reporter covering politics and the 2020 election. I have previously worked for MSNBC and Chronogram Magazine. I attended Vassar College and the London