Anderson Cooper defiantly confronts ‘snake oil salesman’ and friend of Donald Trump peddling coronavirus ‘cure’

Anderson Cooper (R) tore into Mike Lindell for peddling an unproven cure to the coronavirus. (Screen capture via Twitter/CNN)

Gay news anchor Anderson Cooper launched a scathing attack against the chief executive who is a member of US president Donald Trump’s inner circle and one of his top donors in a Tuesday (18 August) interview.

MyPillow head Mike Lindell has been peddling a plant extract as a “miracle” coronavirus cure, leading to Cooper, 53, to accuse him of being a “snake oil salesman” leveraging the pandemic for profit.

“How do you sleep at night?” Cooper sharply asked Lindell, who had conducted meetings with Trump across the last month to evangelise the potential use of oleandrin, an extract from the plant Nerium oleander.

Lindell’s boosterism for the drug, Cooper said, is nothing more than a glossy business venture – Lindell sits on the board of oleandrin drug developer Phoenix Biotechnology.

White House officials have been alarmed by Lindell’s repeated sales pitches of the drug, all coming as the president becomes more and more desperate for a cure for the pathogen which has sickened more than 5.5 million, cratered the economy and plunged the president’s polling numbers.

Anderson Cooper: ‘You really are a snake oil salesman.’

“You have no medical background, you’re not a scientist,” Cooper said during the CNN interview.

“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.

He added: “You really are a snake oil salesman.

“I mean, you could be in the Old West standing on a box telling people to drink your amazing elixir that there’s no proof [of].”

Lindell attempted to reel Cooper in by saying that he has “no monetary gain here.” The journalist refused to hold back.

“That’s not true,” he said, “you’re gonna make money off this. You’re on the board of this company.”

Lindell sought to position oleandrin as an “amazing cure” that, he claimed, the media is “trying to take away”. He said that he has been “praying” for a cure to the virus, and added: “I do what Jesus has to do.”

“You think Jesus wants you out here promoting remedies that [have] never been tested?” Cooper asked.

Moreover, when pressed by Cooper, Lindell failed to provide any scientific evidence or publicly available peer-reviews studies, other than an alleged clinical trial.

Oleandrin, according to Phoenix Biotechnology’s website, was approved by Food and Drug Administration to pursue clinical trials of the drug as a therapeutic treatment for cancer patients, but not for COVID-19. Lindell also claimed that the agency has had research on the extract since April.

However, when approached for comment by The Hill, the FDA could not immediately confirm this.