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Donald Trump reportedly taps anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to lead a commission on vaccine safety

Trump, who has flirted with vaccine conspiracy theories, says "no decisions have been made" on vaccine panel


Matthew Rozsa
January 11, 2017 7:35PM (UTC)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a leading proponent of the debunked conspiracy theory that vaccines are linked to autism, met with President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday — allegedly to discuss chairing a commission that will help spread his fringe beliefs.

"President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policies and he has questions about it," Kennedy told the press on Tuesday. "He says his opinion doesn't matter . . . but the science does matter, and we ought to be reading the science and we ought to be debating the science."

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Kennedy claimed that Trump had asked him to "chair a commission on vaccination safety and scientific integrity."

Trump's transition team has contradicted Kennedy's reports. While spokeswoman Hope Hicks confirmed to NBC News that the president-elect was "exploring the possibility of forming a committee on autism," she added that "no decisions have been made at this time."

The president-elect has been linked to the vaccine conspiracy theories in the past. During a presidential debate in 2015, he infamously claimed that "autism has become an epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control."

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The anti-vaccine movement is based on a bogus 1998 medical paper by British medical researcher Andrew Wakefield, which was later revealed to have been riddled with methodological flaws. Wakefield himself had a financial conflict of interest which compromised the integrity of his findings on the subject. No reputable scientific study has ever discovered a link between vaccines and autism.

 

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Autism Donald Trump Robert Kennedy Jr. Vaccines

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