CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday clashed with MyPillow CEO Michael Lindell, a Trump supporter, for promoting oleandrin, an unproven therapeutic treatment for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Lindell and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson both have financial stakes in the company that develops oleandrin and would profit if the treatment is sold widely. It's part of a pattern in which entrepreneurs, often without rigorous vetting, push unproven products to Trump — knowing their sales pitches might catch his eye, Axios's Jonathan Swan writes.

Of note: When pressed by Cooper, Lindell could not provide details or evidence of a peer-reviewed study he referred to that would support his claims.

What they're saying:

Lindell: "Well, you know, I was contacted on Easter Sunday ... I told the whole country to pray for the answer for this pandemic and this great administration has had me anything I hear out there, whether it be good sanitizers or cures or anything to bring it back to the task force. So this guy called me on Easter Sunday and said he had an answer to the virus and I reached out to my friend Secretary Carson, who's on the task force, and he is a doctor and he looked into it, got everything from the company, and he said this is the real deal. It's been tested by over 1,000 people to be safe..."

Cooper: "Wait a minute, sir. Stop, stop. There's no public peer-reviewed studies about this."

Lindell: "Yeah, there is. Yeah, there is."

Lindell defended his support for the treatment, claiming he's given it to friends and family members and it "saved their lives."

  • "I do what Jesus has me do," he told Cooper.
  • "You think Jesus wants you out here promoting remedies that ... [have] never been tested?" Cooper asked.

Later in the interview, Cooper asked "...How are you different than a snake oil salesman? You have no medical background, there's no evidence of this substance ... it hasn't been tested in animals or humans."

Flashback: Asked about oleandrin Monday, Trump told reporters, “We’ll look at it.” 

  • The president previously touted hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, as a possible coronavirus cure even though it had not been federally approved to treat COVID-19.

Go deeper

Sep 18, 2020 - Health

Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 30,804,120 — Total deaths: 957,348— Total recoveries: 21,062,785Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 6,766,631 — Total deaths: 199,268 — Total recoveries: 2,577,446 — Total tests: 94,211,463Map.
  3. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning
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  6. World: Guatemalan president tests positive for COVID-19 — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.