What's Known Vaccine Skeptic Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, Doing in the Trump Tower?

Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Donald Trump is spending the last weeks before his inauguration endangering another part of America’s health: the reliability of vaccinations.

Earlier this week Trump took a meeting with radio host, environmental activist, and noted vaccination skeptic Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

While the exact details of the discussion were private, Kennedy told a group of pool reports after the meeting that President-elect Trump “has some doubts about the current vaccine policies, and he has questions about it. 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. And that everybody ought to be able to be assured that the vaccines that we have — he's very pro-vaccine, as am I — that they're as safe as they possibly can be."

Trump, based on a quote lifted from a September debate, believes there is a direct correlation between vaccinations and autism:

"You take this little beautiful baby, and you pump — I mean, it looks just like it's meant for a horse, not for a child, and we've had so many instances, people that work for me. Just the other day, two years old, two and a half years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic."

To paraphrase hundreds of responses from trained, educated medical professionals: That’s not how any of that works.

The idea of two non-scientists asking questions of science would be refreshing, were there any indication that Trump or Kennedy intended to ask actual scientists.

But that’s clearly not what either man has done in the past. Had they done so, they would have been shown an overwhelming volume of clear literature showing that vaccines are safe, do not cause autism, and are a necessary part of modern society’s efforts to prevent a plague-era massive population die-off.

Not that they should need convincing. At 62, Kennedy is, like Trump, old enough to remember polio, and a host of other diseases that have been cured, safely, by vaccines.

Meanwhile, preventable diseases are back on the rise after decades of near eradication. Anyone who is skeptical that a few unvaccinated individuals should google “herd immunity,” and then read any of these stories.