11th Jan 2016
President-elect Donald Trump will meet Tuesday with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a noted skeptic of vaccine safety, to talk about the issue.
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer briefly shared the meeting with reporters on the transition’s daily press call. He did not add any additional information, outside of disclosing the topic: “vaccines and immunizations.”
Kennedy, the son of the famous attorney general and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, has repeatedly questioned the safety of vaccinations, telling a Sacramento audience in 2015 that drug companies can “put anything they want in that vaccine and they have no accountability for it.” At the same event, he questioned whether vaccinations could be linked to autism and called the scourge of disorders he believes are related to vaccines a “holocaust.”
Scientists have brushed aside supposed connections between vaccines and developmental disorders, noting that there’s no scientific evidence to support those claims and that vaccines are regulated to ensure safety. There is “no link” between vaccines and autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But worries about vaccines have long simmered on both the far left and the far right as politicians sometimes look to cater to those within their party who share those concerns.
Trump has previously raised questions about a link between vaccines and autism, tweeting in 2014 that there are “many” cases that suggest a link.
He clarified during a GOP primary debate in September 2015 that he is “totally in favor of vaccines … in smaller doses over a longer period of time,” noting that “autism has become an epidemic.
“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,” he added.
Along with Kennedy, Trump will also hold a handful of meetings as he finalizes his administration’s staff and initial priorities.
He’ll meet with three members of the mining company BHP Billiton, before meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Secretary of Health and Human Services-designate Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator-designate Seema Verma. Trump also plans to meet with billionaire physician Patrick Soon-Shiong and to discuss inauguration plans with two aides.