Donald Trump Finds A New Conspiracy Theory To Trumpet: Vaccines And Autism
You know that big study showing that older fathers might be part of the increase in autism? The research contends that older sperm could account for as much as 30% of the cases of autism in our country. Well it looks like one older father might be taking the news personally. Donald Trump just decided to jump in to the autism debates and guess who he’s siding with? None other than infamous non-doctor-making-lots-of-medical-claims Jenny McCarthy.
The Donald recently took to Twitter with this controversial statement.
I’m sure the timing of the tweet, right after research on older fathers, is purely coincidental and has nothing to do with the fact that the 66-year-old millionaire has a 6-year-old son, Barron Trump, with wife Melania. I’m sure it has everything to do with Trump finally ignoring birtherism long enough to find another already-debunked bandwagon to hop on.
The idea that vaccines cause autism is obviously not new. Jenny McCarthy’s controversial book that really brought the vaccine debate into the mainstream, “Louder Than Words: a Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism,” was published in 2007. Since that time, countless medical professionals have refuted the books claims. The CDC has released more statements than I can count trying to explain that vaccines are both safe and necessary to help keep kids safe. And the study that originally began the debate about vaccinations and autism has been completely withdrawn, the author of the paper admitting that he made his research up.
There are still anti-vaccine parents out there, but medical community is certain that vaccinations do not cause autism. And one would think that Donald Trump would have access to the best medical advice and opinions that money can buy.
More than anything about this, I’m confused as to why Trump got involved in the debate at all. First of all, it’s the first time I’ve heard the Donald concerned about children’s health issues. Or children’s issues in general. And second of all, no one was wagging a finger at older fathers when this research came out. It was presented medical research that no one had considered before this point. Now we all get to think about it’s implications, but it won’t go away because a seemingly professional conspiracy theorist tries to pull our attention in another direction.
Really, continuing to spout anti-vaccine rhetoric puts children at risk. Whooping cough is on the rise thanks to misinformation about vaccines. 2011 was the worst year for measles in the past 15 because of low vaccination rates. When kids aren’t vaccinated, they get sick. Maybe Trump should’ve thought about the consequences before spouting unproven and inflammatory nonsense. (It would be a first, but we can all hope.)
[UPDATE: One awesome commenter noted that Trump has talked about his vaccine and autism theories before. Here’s just one example from back in April. I still assume that he was tweeting this week in response to the new studies out, but I guess this is another conspiracy theory he’s been harboring for a while.]