By Eric Lutz // vanityfair.com // August 17, 2020
Move over hydroxychloroquine! The president is reportedly now interested in Oleandrin, an experimental botanical extract being promoted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
For months, Donald Trump promoted the off-label use of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 therapy, even claiming to have taken a course of the anti-malarial drug as a prophylactic. But as the evidence against its effectiveness and potential dangers continues to mount—Dr. Anthony Fauci last month emphasized that studies have “consistently” shown the drug to have “no efficacy” in treating coronavirus—the president may have begun to turn toward a new, unproven miracle cure, this one peddled by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and…MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell?
Yes, you read that right. Carson and the pillow pitchman, a GOP megadonor and Trump ally, have gotten the president interested in an experimental botanical extract they say could treat COVID-19, raising concerns among some government officials, Axios reported Sunday. Trump, who has been searching for an easy way out of the coronavirus crisis since it started, has reportedly “expressed enthusiasm” for Oleandrin, as Carson and Lindell push for Food and Drug Administration approval, though—like hydroxychloroquine—there is no proof that it works. “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 administration official familiar with the matter told Jonathan Swan.
Trump’s fondness for the unproven experimental extract is just the latest instance in which he’s latched on to a quick fix for the coronavirus crisis, the biggest obstacle to bid for re-election, in hopes that he can make it all go away without him having to do anything about it. Nationwide mask mandate? Robust testing regime? Who needs them if you’ve got an oleander extract that hasn’t been adequately tested, but that Lindell—who invests in the company that makes it—swears by? “This is the most amazing miracle thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Lindell told Axios. “I went all in.”