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.
Donald Trump has not only spread dangerous misinformation about the links between vaccines and autism, but he’s also given money to the anti-vaxxer cause.Two additional points. One, though the Trump Foundation bears his name, he has not actually given any money to it since 2008.
His monetary support for the conspiracy theory came in the form of a $10,000 check to an anti-vaccine charity run by former Playboy model and television host Jenny McCarthy.
Trump’s monetary and moral support for McCarthy’s discredited ideas have real, harmful effects—they contribute to the mainstreaming of a conspiracy theory at a time when parents are increasingly deciding to opt out of vaccines despite medical advice.
McCarthy has been a vocal opponent of chemicals in vaccines since 2007, citing discredited studies and experiences with her autistic son. “The University of Google is where I got my degree from,” she once said in an interview.
She put her misinformed views into action by leading an anti-vaccine nonprofit called Generation Rescue, which the Republican nominee’s controversial Trump Foundation charity contributed to in 2010, according to nonprofit records.
Two, Trump's buffonery is often amusing, but his antivax nonsense puts children in jeopardy. As I wrote a year ago:
Trump is hardly the first politician to spout misinformation – but in this case, it is downright dangerous. If parents take him seriously and delay vaccinations, their children could catch the diseases that the vaccines prevent. And some of these diseases can be deadly.