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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Trump, Clinton, Disability, Public Health

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the issue's role in presidential campaigns.   In this campaign, a number of posts have discussed Trump's support for the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.  He also has a bad record on disability issues more generally.

PolitiFact examines the ad showing Trump mocking a disabled journalist.
Trump tweeted about the ad on Sunday: "Clinton made a false ad about me where I was imitating a reporter GROVELING after he changed his story. I would NEVER mock disabled. Shame!" The Trump campaign did not respond to PolitiFact’s request for comment.
In an ad from Priorities USA Action, parents of a disabled child said Trump "mocked" a disabled reporter at a campaign rally. Trump did mimic the man’s oddly angled right hand while flailing his arms and shouting in a strange voice. Disabled people and advocates said the candidate clearly was mocking him.

Trump’s excuses for his comments are at odds with the evidence. Trump said he didn’t remember the man so he couldn’t know he was handicapped. But Kovaleski said he and Trump knew each other well because the reporter regularly covered the New York businessman for years. Archived reports support that.

Trump also talked about the reporter with familiarity as a "nice reporter" and a "poor guy" who "you gotta see."

Trump’s denials that he did not mock -- or even know -- the disabled reporter don’t add up. We rate the ad’s claim True.
David Nather reports at Stat:
Clinton “really knows what’s going on and is a policy wonk on medical research as well as health care,” said Mary Woolley, president of Research!America, a coalition of groups that promote medical research. Trump, however, has such an “in the moment” approach to medical research — almost never raising the issue unless someone asks him about it — that it will be impossible to know what he’d do until people ask him more questions, she said.
Paul Offit, the chief of the division of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, puts the choice in more stark terms.
“I think it is fair to say that Donald Trump is a black box. He says one thing one day and the opposite the next,” Offit said. “So he certainly scares me far more than Hillary Clinton, who has generally supported public health.”
[Clinton] has laid out plans to boost Alzheimer’s research, increase treatment and support for people with autism, advance the fight against HIV and AIDS, andreduce opioid addiction and substance abuse.
Trump has also bought into theories that aren’t grounded in medical science. He has talked and tweeted, many times, about the now-disproven link between vaccines and autism. “If I were President I would push for proper vaccinations but would not allow one time massive shots that a small child cannot take — AUTISM,” he tweeted in March 2014.
And, of course, there was Trump’s vitamin network, a network marketing company that sold supplements on the basis of bad science.