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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Trump v. RFK Jr. on Vaccines

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread  And among those diseases could be COVID-19.

Antivaxxers are sometimes violent, often abusive, and always wrongA leading anti-vaxxer is presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  He has repeatedly compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.  Rolling Stone and Salon retracted an RFK article linking vaccines to autism.

Chris Brennan at USA Today:
Speaking Saturday at a National Rifle Association convention in Dallas, Trump warned the crowd against backing Kennedy, calling him a member of the "radical left" while noting that the independent candidate has at times walked back his criticism of vaccines.

"Don't think about it. Don't waste your vote," Trump told the NRA. "Somebody said, well, they like his policy on vaccines. The other day he said, 'No, no, he'll go for the vaccine.' He's got no policy on anything."

Trump, in a May 9 video posted to his social media site Truth Social, also went after Kennedy for maybe not being so anti-vaccine after all.

"He said it on a television show that vaccines are fine, and he's all for them," Trump said in his video. "And for those of you that want to vote (for Kennedy) because you think he's anti-vaccine, he's not really an anti-vaxxer."

Trump appeared to be describing an April interview Kennedy did on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," where Kennedy was pushed on his vaccine misinformation and said, "I believe if people want the vaccine that they should be able to get it. I'm not anti-vaccine."


New numbers from Siena College, The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer last week showed Kennedy drawing a similar number of votes from Biden and Trump.


Trump now campaigns for another term as president by vowing to deny federal funding for any school with a vaccine mandate, as he did Saturday in his NRA speech. This "I will not give one penny" pledge is a standard part of his campaign rally speech.

That line usually draws cheers. And it puts Trump's ignorance on full display for crowds that really seem to dig it.