Donald Trump says he surrounds himself with “the best people” but obviously, that is a lie. He has filled his cabinet with white supremacists and conspiracy theorists. But now, Trump’s shitty choices in who to take advice from are about to become an epidemic because he’s meeting with a top anti-vaxxer to discuss vaccines today.
Trump’s transition team published his schedule for Tuesday and he is set to meet with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., one of the most prominent anti-vaccination
whackjobs activists in the country. They will apparently discuss the use of “vaccines/immunizations” in the United States.
TRUMP MEETINGS TODAY
Robert F Kennedy Jr on vaccines/immunizations.
Andrew MacKenzie, Jacques Nasser and Geoff Healy of Billiton mining co.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) January 10, 2017
As horrifying as this is, it doesn’t exactly come as a shock. Trump has repeatedly said that he is convinced vaccines cause autism in children. Because, screw science.
Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes – AUTISM. Many such cases!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2014
Kennedy wrote an article in 2005 titled “Deadly Immunity,” in which he argued that the mercury-based chemical thimerosal causes autism in children. Not only is there zero evidence to support this claim, but thimerosal isn’t even used in vaccines anymore. This article, which was published in both Rolling Stone and Salon, also alleged a vast conspiracy to hide this link.
Science writer Seth Mnookin explained in his book, “The Panic Virus,” that if Kennedy’s claims were true, this would mean “scientists and officials in governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and publicly held companies around the world would need to be part of a coordinated multi-decade scheme to prop up ‘the vaccine industry’s bottom line’ by masking the dangers of thimerosal.” Salon eventually withdrew Kennedy’s article.
Ten years later, in 2015, Kennedy promoted the film, “Trace Amounts,” which drew the same faulty conclusions about vaccines causing autism as his book. The film told viewers, “They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone. This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”
The implications of a president who doesn’t believe in science and is willing to set policy based on conspiracy theories that have been repeatedly debunked is terrifying, and could well prove deadly.
The following chart shows the number of measles cases in the U.S. between 1950 and 2007. You can clearly see the sharp decline that occurred after the vaccine was introduced in 1962.
However, thanks to anti-vaxxers, measles has been making a comeback in recent years, and we have multiple large outbreaks among the unvaccinated. And now, we actually have a commander-in-chief who doesn’t believe science is real and will help make measles great again. It is downright horrifying. One way or another, Trump is bound and determined to kill us all.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images