Donald Trump Still Wants “Vaccine Safety” Commission, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Says

Donald Trump is still pursuing the creation of a “vaccine safety commission” that will investigate the repeatedly debunked link between vaccines and autism, according to notorious anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who would lead the commission.


Kennedy told reporters on Wednesday that the White House has been in touch with him regarding the commission after he met with Trump on Jan. 10. Kennedy and Trump’s staffs have reportedly been discussing what the commission should look like since then.

Kennedy made the comments at a news conference in Washington alongside actor Robert DeNiro, who’s also questioned vaccine safety. The pair offered a $100,000 award to anyone who could point to a study showing that the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal was safe to vaccinate children and pregnant women.

However, thimerosal was removed from most pediatric vaccines by 2001. Autism diagnosis rates continued to increase for children born after that.

Kennedy said Trump staffers, following his high-profile meeting with Trump, originally urged him to talk about the commission, but they called that evening to say they had “gotten out over our skis” and had to give a more ambiguous statement about Trump’s plans. However, Kennedy said he has been contacted twice since that meeting and “they say they are still going forward with it.”

While it might seem crazy to spend federal funds investigating a link between vaccines and autism that was completely made up in the first place, the move by Trump shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering his own comments on vaccines.

In October 2012, Trump tweeted, “Lots of autism and vaccine response. Stop these massive doses immediately. Go back to single, spread out shots! What do we have to lose.”

Two years later, he tweeted, “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes — AUTISM. Many such cases!” and, “With autism being way up, what do we have to lose by having doctors give small dose vaccines vs. big pump doses into those tiny bodies?”

In one tweet from 2014, now-President Trump alluded to the fact that scientific studies have consistently disputed the claimed link. He discounted the evidence as “fudged up reports!”

With all the disinformation out there, and vaccine deniers causing record numbers of outbreaks around the United States, do we really need the federal government jumping on this particular anti-science bandwagon, too? Will Jenny McCarthy be appointed Trump’s science adviser?

(Screenshot via YouTube)

About David G. McAfee

David G. McAfee is a Religious Studies graduate, journalist, and author of Atheist Answers: Rational Responses to Religious Questions, The Book of Gods, The Belief Book, Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer, and Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings. He is also the founder of The Party of Reason and Progress and a frequent contributor to American Atheist Magazine. McAfee, who writes about science, skepticism, and faith, attended University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and Religious Studies with an emphasis on Christianity and Mediterranean religions.