Health and Science

Donald Trump said to give vaccine skeptic Robert Kennedy Jr. chair of new panel that will probe vaccine safety

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gestures while entering the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Jan. 10, 2017.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Fox, meet the henhouse.

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday offered his fellow vaccine skeptic Robert Kennedy Jr. the chairmanship of a commission that will examine "vaccination safety and scientific integrity," Kennedy claimed after meeting with the real-estate mogul.

Kennedy said he has accepted that offer — but Trump's transition team later said no decision has been made to either form the commission or put Kennedy in charge of it.

Both Trump and Kennedy — the son of slain Sen. Robert Kennedy — have voiced fears about vaccines causing autism, fears that scientists have repeatedly determined to be without merit.

"President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policies and he has questions about it," Kennedy told reporters Tuesday at Trump Tower in New York City.

"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 — but they're as safe as they possibly can be."

Hours after Kennedy and Trump met, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks, told NBC News that the president-elect was "exploring the possibility of forming a committee on autism" with Kennedy but that "no decisions have been made at this time."

Trump two years ago blamed vaccines for causing autism.


He later tweeted that he did not oppose childhood vaccinations, but said "I'm against them in 1 massive dose."

"Tiny children are not horses — one vaccine at a time, over time."

The federal Centers for Disease Control has stated flatly that "vaccines do not cause autism," and specifically noted that there is no evidence that the vaccine preservative thimerosal, which contains mercury, likewise does not cause autism.

Kennedy edited a book entitled "Timerosal: Let the Science Speak: The Evidence Supporting the Immediate Removal of Mercury — a Known Neurotoxin — from Vaccines."

That book argues that thimerosal, which has been used for the past nine decades in vaccines, causes autism.

Kennedy has fought to allow parents to be given waivers from state policies mandating immunizations for public school children

Zuckerberg jumps into vaccine debate with baby photo
Zuckerberg jumps into vaccine debate with baby photo