Mike Lindell, known as the My Pillow Guy and Ben Carson, the brain surgeon who runs the Department of Housing and Urban Development (this is straight journalism in the year 2020, deal with it) know that Donald Trump needs a miracle to get reelected, so they’ve decided to devote their collective brain power to finding a cure for the coronavirus. To that end, Lindell bought stock in a company owned by Andrew Whitney of Phoenix Biotechnology, who is pushing oleandrin, a flower oil, as a COVID-19 cure. Axios:

  • MyPillow CEO Lindell, who is a major advertiser on Fox News and a personal friend of Carson and Trump, helped Whitney get an Oval Office meeting with the president in July to discuss oleandrin as a potential COVID-19 cure. (The Washington Post first reported this meeting.)

  • Lindell said that he, Carson, at least one lawyer and, briefly, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, joined Trump and Whitney for the meeting. Notably absent was Hahn, the head of the agency that studies and approves medical treatments.

  • Asked why the HUD secretary was promoting an unproven botanical extract to cure COVID-19, a Carson spokesperson emailed the following statement to Axios: “Secretary Carson is a member of the Coronavirus Task Force, he has been directly involved with the Administration’s response to this disease from the very beginning.”

  • “The Task Force is looking at a plethora of therapeutics to fight COVID-19,” the statement also said. “To suggest that Secretary Carson, who is a world-renowned expert in the medical field, shouldn’t be involved is not only absurd but unhelpful in our collective fight to eradicate the pandemic.”

  • A senior official familiar with Carson’s involvement noted that while Carson is a world-renowned expert in pediatric neurosurgery, he is not a world-renowned expert on antiviral drugs or infectious diseases.

The Task Force may be looking at a “plethora of therapeutics” but so far they have a paucity of anything that works. In fact, they have a dearth, make that a fucking dearth, of anything that comes close to being a cure for COVID-19. But that’s not stopping any of them and it certainly is no caution to Donald Trump, who doesn’t care if it’s Tide pods, or UV lights, or now flower oil, if it will only get him off the hot seat and rising in the polls. (How about salsa taquera to cure COVID, do I have any takers? And we can dry Hatch chiles and seeds and make beads and rattles and do incantations to drive out the coronavirus. Who wants to come with me and join the Trump Task Force in the morning?)

And actually, if you stop to think about, the My Pillow Guy and Ben Carson aren’t any worse than Jared Kushner’s supermodel sister-in-law’s father, right? Remember him, the ER doctor with the group of rando M.D.s on Facebook? They were going to get this thing licked, too?

And this will make you feel better.

 Why it matters: A senior administration official familiar with the internal conversations told Axios, “The involvement of the Secretary of HUD and 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.”

Just another day in Trump world. 78 days to go and then 78 after that until the inauguration. Hang on tight to your dreams. We’re going to wake up from this nightmare, together.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


  1. All parts of the oleander plant (Nerium oleander) are toxic to humans. Even one leaf can kill a child. A story told by park rangers up and down the coast of California tells about a family camping out, who cut some oleander branches to use to roast hot dogs for their dinner. The next morning the family was found dead from poison. It’s lethal, strong and quick – like drinking bleach.


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