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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day Thoughts on Trump and Autism

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.

It’s hard to keep track of the deluge of reasons why Donald Trump is massively, historically unqualified to our nation’s commander-in-chief. But while you’re running down the lengthy list of his horrifying previous actions and his chilling vows for the future, remember to save a little bit of shock for his scientific ignorance. This is a man who, unlike even his running mate, doesn’t believe in climate change. Who thinks light bulbs cause cancer. And this is a man who has aligned himself with one of the mostly willfully, dangerously stupid populations in our nation: the anti-vaxxers.
Matt Carey writes at LBRB:
Now back to Donald Trump: missing the fact that he would be terrible president is like missing a train wreck. Let’s leave out the fact for now that he’s proved himself to be completely unfit for the main duties the president would take on with his childish outbursts and lack of self control, let’s just consider this fact:
He has no disability policy. Further, we can expect nothing from him. He has shown himself to be an arrogant ableist; a man who mocks the disabled.
Trump has no backbone. No guts. It takes guts to admit a mistake and apologize. Trump never will. Sounds a lot (LOT) like the proponents of the idea that vaccines cause autism (looking at you, Andrew Wakefield). When called out for his attack on a disabled reporter, Trump responded that the reporter should apologize (no, seriously, he did!), and further stated:

Mr. Trump stated, “Serge Kovaleski must think a lot of himself if he thinks I remember him from decades ago – if I ever met him at all, which I doubt I did. He should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper that is rapidly going down the tubes.”
That press release on Trump demanding an apology was one of the 10–ten!–hits on his website for the search term “disability”. None of those hits are relevant to a better life for my kid.
This is the guy you “vaccines-cause-autism” people want making policies on disability?