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The Tragic Story of Mike Lindell’s Quack COVID ‘Cure’



It’s an all-too-familiar story at this level: An individual pushing an unproven COVID remedy—and pushing again towards the vaccines—pays the final word value for his or her skepticism.

However this time, there’s a brand new wrinkle. It’s not only one particular person dabbling in COVID quackery with tragic outcomes; it’s truly a mysterious darkish cash group, with ties to influential MAGA figures like Steve Bannon and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

This story, which unfolded almost 18 months in the past, would have seemingly gone untold if it weren’t for one particular person: Kenneth Happel.

Happel claims to have partnered with the group, Propter Methods, in its secretive work. However finally, he turned one other sufferer of it.

To this present day, Propter Methods is a black gap, regardless of its high-profile connections and multimillion-dollar price range. Apart from Happel’s account, there isn’t a proof of Propter’s actions wherever within the public document. And that may be with good purpose: These actions included hawking the snake-oil COVID therapy oleandrin on the highest ranges of the federal government, because the pandemic’s deadly second wave peaked throughout the nation.

Happel, because it seems, presently lies in a Las Vegas hospital mattress warding off his second COVID an infection. Lower than two weeks in the past, the illness took his wife’s life.

However in a telephone interview from his hospital mattress, Happel, 72, remained unrepentant and defiant in regards to the quite a few baseless theories that fairly seemingly landed him again within the hospital and killed the wife he liked dearly.

Happel nonetheless locations hope within the pseudoscience that he, Propter Methods, and Lindell had pushed so laborious—a proprietary compound derived from oleander extract, which the pillow tycoon and at the least one Propter official had invested in.

None of Propter’s board members replied to The Day by day Beast’s a number of requests for remark for this text. Happel himself was laborious to search out.

That’s as a result of, other than incorporation and tax paperwork, Propter is actually invisible.

The group registered as a nonprofit with the state of Texas in June 2020, when the virus had settled in throughout the nation and Lindell’s advert hoc mask-making enterprise had collapsed underneath the load of his personal ideology. And although the pillow mogul doesn’t seem on Propter’s board, the group’s officers are well-connected in their very own proper, from the Trump White Home to the Supreme Court docket.

And so, Propter quickly discovered itself flush with $5 million, in response to public tax filings. However that was a lifeless finish, too. The funds had been delivered anonymously through Donors Belief, earmarked for ventures with code names out of a straight-to-video thriller, just like the “Inside Safety Undertaking” and the “Delta Undertaking.”

Two sources near Propter officers instructed The Day by day Beast that they believed the group had ties to Bannon. The erstwhile Trump whisperer hosts his Conflict Room podcast on the identical platform as Propter co-founder Frank Gaffney, one other anti-China zealot. They usually each teamed up at Bannon’s anti-China discussion board with one other Propter official—senior fellow and former president on the hyperconservative Claremont Institute Brian Kennedy.

Bannon, in fact, was additionally an oleandrin fanatic.

There’s apparently just one different piece of details about Propter on the web: a copyright mark on the backside of a zero-budget web site.

Registration knowledge on that web site—“”—reveals its proprietor is Happel. Within the hospital mattress interview, Happel confirmed that the Propter Methods cited on his web page was in actual fact the identical group linked to these main MAGA figures.

Happel instructed The Day by day Beast that he’d included the copyright discover due to a video hosted on the location. Whereas the video is now not accessible, Happel claimed he had put it collectively along side Propter Methods, which owned the copyright.

The clip, as Happel described it, touted the solely unsubstantiated advantages of oleandrin in treating COVID, and slammed its detractors in mainstream media and drugs.

Happel—a former Tea Get together activist with an entrepreneurial historical past that intersects with biotechnology—recounted engaged on oleandrin in 2020 with Propter board member Andrew Whitney. A serial entrepreneur and former Bain Capital investor, Whitney was truly pulling oleandrin double-duty—he was on the board on the nonprofit Propter, in addition to at Texas-based Phoenix Biotechnologies, whose analysis centered on the product.

Happel additionally acknowledged the connection to Lindell, who, it seems, additionally holds a monetary stake in Phoenix Biotechnologies.

And so, smack in the midst of that lethal second-wave summer season, Whitney and Lindell paired up for a MAGA media parade, stumping for oleandrin as a uncared for medical miracle on fringe conservative platforms from Newsmax to Youtube personalities’ Diamond and Silk’s present.

Then, in response to a number of retailers, the 2 businessmen struck gold. They landed an Oval Workplace assembly with Trump, due to Lindell’s relationship with the since-vanquished commander-in-chief. Additionally in attendance at that assembly was then-Housing and City Improvement Secretary Ben Carson, who went as far as to make use of oleandrin to deal with his personal COVID-19 that fall. (Carson claimed it cured him, regardless of its lack of official approvals or scientific proof of efficacy towards coronavirus infections in people.)

Trump, underneath stress from a resurgent second wave, was a fats goal. His first politicized sham medical obsession, hydroxychloroquine, had misplaced its luster. Open to something however masks, Trump warmed to Whitney’s Oval Workplace pitch, and subsequently expressed curiosity within the therapy, one among a number of quack merchandise he advocated however curiously didn’t use himself when he fell ailing with the illness.

Whereas Whitney and Lindell pushed oleandrin—and particularly, Phoenix Biotechnology’s merchandise—on the president, one other Propter official was boosting the therapy on a parallel monitor.

In a number of video and written screeds in August 2020, the official, famous Islamophobic activist Frank Gaffney, excoriated supposed “Deep State” actors for participating in “perfidious bureaucratic sandbagging” of oleandrin.

In a single article, Gaffney—a former adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a Bannon ally, and an influential confidant of Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court docket justice Clarence Thomas—additionally name-dropped Phoenix, when discussing the industrial therapy Serrativir. In one other piece he quoted Whitney, who had complained to him of “cure-canceling.”

In some unspecified time in the future, issues went sideways. Phoenix has since wiped Whitney from its web site, and he couldn’t be reached for remark. In a telephone name, a Phoenix consultant distanced the agency from Whitney, however declined to remark additional.

In a telephone interview, Lindell mentioned, “I don’t know Andrew Whitney.” After The Day by day Beast reminded him of a prolonged Axios report about their White Home journey, in addition to a lot of joint media appearances, Lindell mentioned, “I do know Andrew Whitney.”

Lindell then spoke at size about Whitney, Phoenix, and its oleander “therapeutic that labored.” Propter, nevertheless, didn’t appear to ring any bells, although Lindell admitted he was vaguely conscious of Gaffney’s evangelism.

The pillow king confirmed he nonetheless has a monetary stake in Phoenix, and continues to be on the board. As for Whitney, “He bought—ka-boom—gone.” Lindell didn’t elaborate.

Propter, too, went “ka-boom.” The corporate’s officers dissolved it shortly after The Day by day Beast revealed its existence final November.

Happel, from his hospital mattress, stood by the work.

“One of many saddest issues,” he mentioned, was how discussions about merchandise like oleandrin had grow to be a “political soccer” throughout the pandemic.

“I sincerely consider that [Phoenix and Whitney] thought that they had made a discovery and needed to do a check to search out out if it was true—nothing extra, nothing much less,” Happel mentioned. “The check by no means occurred, and so we don’t know in regards to the reality.”

“I perceive much less as I become old and older. We’ve got forgotten how you can pay attention,” he added.

Happel didn’t reply whether or not he or his wife had tried oleandrin.

Happel did declare that hydroxychloroquine “could have saved” his life throughout his first critical COVID an infection final yr.

However this second bout was worse, he mentioned, and “the comorbidity isn’t serving to”—a reference to a “extreme lung situation” that had landed him and his wife within the hospital “a lot of instances.”

His wife, Happel mentioned, had a “very, very broken immune system,” however, like him, had not taken the vaccine.

Lindell mentioned he didn’t recall Happel, and the 2 could by no means have instantly collaborated, although Lindell additionally erroneously and repeatedly pegged the summer season of 2020 as “three years in the past.”

Knowledgeable of Happel’s dire state, and the latest COVID dying of his wife, Lindell—a born-again Christian—didn’t seem affected.

“Yeah, properly, you say that and I do know a thousand those who’ve died with the vaccine,” Lindell claimed.

Based on the federal government’s Vaccine Opposed Occasion Reporting System, amongst 539 million administered doses in america, there have been 11,879 deaths as of Jan. 31, 2022 because of the vaccine—a 0.0022 p.c probability of dying. In the meantime, there have just lately been about 2,500 deaths a day in america from coronavirus—with the overwhelming majority of these deaths occurring among the many unvaccinated.

However nonetheless, folks like Happel and Lindell have chosen to place their religion into unproven remedies like oleandrin.

“I take it day-after-day,” Lindell mentioned of oleandrin. The truth is, he mentioned, he purchased a stockpile of the stuff for his pals, household, and staff—anybody who wants it.

“I put cash in to avoid wasting this nation,” he mentioned.