Well, it's happening again: It appears that Donald Trump, one of the most mushbrained people in America, is latching on to a new "miracle cure" for the deadly COVID-19 pandemic with no evidence of its effectiveness. Like the last time around, it appears he chose this particular miracle cure after it was talked up by Grifters With Access to His Office, which is how all federal government business is now run.
Specifically, the My Pillow guy. Trump is hitching his wagon to a new miracle cure touted by the right-wing Fox-famous Tucker-Carlson-sponsoring My Pillow guy. It’s 2020, there’s a worldwide pandemic, Trump is taking medical advice from the My Pillow guy, and we’re all going to die.
According to Axios' Jonathan Swan, My Pillow Guy Mike Lindell has been talking up a new "dietary supplement" extracted from the toxic plant oleander after buying a financial stake in the company that makes it. (Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is also boosting the product in yet another reminder that ex-surgeons can dive into crackpotism as eagerly as anyone else.) My Pillow Guy arranged a meeting between himself, Carson, Trump, and the CEO of the company involved to advocate for the maybe-drug, maybe-supplement as a potential COVID-19 cure.
Trump, apparently, was hooked, and there's now pressure on Trump Food and Drug Administration head Stephen Hahn to rapidly approve this new product as COVID-19 "cure," just as hydroxychloroquine was forced through the system back in March. That drug is now thought to be largely useless in COVID-19 cases, and due to its known side effects affecting the heart may actually worsen COVID-19 complications in patients it is given to.
So there you go, again. A personal Trump friend has a business interest in a new "dietary supplement." A personal Trump friend pushes it to Trump, without scientific evidence, as a new miracle cure for what ails the country. Trump, an idiot who believes anything anyone tells him if it comes with enough flattery and even the slightest chance of extracting him from having to do a damn bit of work, bites onto it hook, line, and sinker, and pushes the federal government to promote Rich Friend Guy's new product. It happens often enough now that there's a rhythm to it.
If it were happening in any other country, every single person of importance in this country would be (1 laughing at the sheer stupidity of it and (2 using it as unassailable evidence of systemic, autocratic corruption. It's not happening here because the media is simply unwilling to contemplate that this country could be in that same hypercorrupt position, and because Republicans remain not just willing but positively eager to use those same corrupt instincts to boost their own career prospects.
So what's the new product's name going to be? "My Pillow Guy's Pandemic Cure Everything Oil" isn't going to cut it. The extract itself is called oleandrin, which is both a little flat and too toxic-sounding for mainstream marketing purposes. A few others come to mind, but probably wouldn't make it past network censors.
In the meantime, do not start chewing on oleander plants in an attempt to immunize yourself against COVID-19. It does kill the virus, but only as side effect of killing you off directly. Don’t inject bleach. Don’t drink fish pond cleaners. In general, don’t do anything Trump tells you. At some point the Secret Service may yet put a bag over his head and whisk him out of the Oval Office before he kills any more people, but for now you’re on your own.