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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

Nov 25, 2020 - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

Nov 25, 2020 - Health

In photos: Americans embark on Thanksgiving air travel

Los Angeles international Airport on Nov. 25. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Many Americans chose to travel by plane ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Why it matters: The CDC advised Americans on Nov. 19 not to travel for Thanksgiving, and that doing so may increase the chance of contracting and spreading COVID-19. The U.S. is currently seeing the most coronavirus cases and the greatest strain on hospitals since the start of the pandemic.

Updated Nov 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.