trump wakefield vaccines autism

The Trump Wakefield anti-vaccine bromance – yes, it’s a thing

Two of the most disreputable public personas today are Andrew Wakefield, fraudulent anti-vaccine “scientist” and liar, and Donald J Trump, fraudulent anti-vaccine presidential candidate and liar. The Trump Wakefield bromance developed over their mutual belief that vaccines cause autism. In case you’re wandering to this blog from another planet, there is absolutely no evidence that vaccines are related to autism.

If you follow this, or honestly any skeptic’s, website, you’d know that Andrew Wakefield is one of the greatest conmen in medicine and science. And to be honest, that’s a tough list. His delusion that vaccines are related to autism has lead to actual harm to children throughout the world, as parents listen to his junk medicine and refuse to protect their children from vaccine preventable diseases.

Of course, most rational people understand Donald Trump’s misogyny, racism, and alt-right beliefs. I’ll let political writers elsewhere continue to point that out leading up to the election. For me, there are so many reasons to dislike Trump, with his anti-vaccine ignorance being near the top.

Lovely, aren’t they? Many skeptics have pointed out Trump’s dishonesty for years. The mysterious Orac has been pointing out Trump’s ignorance on vaccines for years.

Let’s take a look at the budding Trump Wakefield bromance. I promise, it will make you ill.

The Trump Wakefield relationship

 

Recently, a Vaxxed fraudumentary Facebook fan page posted a video with Wakefield, wherein he describes a meeting between himself and the Republican candidate for President. Near the end of the video, Wakefield says of Trump,

For me, this is a one issue election. That is the future of this country, invested in its children. And if we have mandatory vaccination, in this country, in this state, as they have in California, it’s all over…so you use your vote extremely carefully.

There is one person, whatever else you may think about him, who has expressed the fact that he knows that vaccines cause autism, that vaccine damage is real, and that this is an issue that will never lead, in his mind, to mandatory vaccination.

He would never allow mandatory vaccination. I had the privilege of meeting with him to discuss this precise issue. He is on our side.

So nuclear war, taxes on the middle class, climate change denial, and world class misogyny is not the most important issue in this election – it’s that Trump will stop mandatory vaccination, end of discussion. We should set aside the fact that numerous Supreme Court rulings, such as Jacobson v Massachusetts and Prince v Massachusetts, support the state’s right to protect its citizens through mandatory vaccination. Then again, the Trump Wakefield bromance is not based a vast knowledge of constitutional law.

But there’s more:

He (Trump) is on our side. Whatever else you may think, I want you to bear that in mind. I’m not going to tell you how to vote, you are free-thinking Americans. But I will say, we will not get a second chance.

Within two years, I would say, Hillary Clinton getting in, if she gets in, there will be mandatory adult and childhood vaccination across the entire country.

Let’s be clear on what our side means by mandatory childhood vaccination – if a parent does not vaccinate their child, then that child cannot attend any public or private school (with medical exemptions still allowed). If the parent wants to deny science and not vaccinate their child, then they have other choices like home schooling (though we can speculate on the quality of science education that child would get). Or emigrate to a country that does not mandate vaccinations (if there are probably none in the developed world).

As for Clinton pushing mandatory vaccination? I’m fairly attuned to this election, and she has not pushed such an agenda loudly or quietly. This is not an issue that captures the interest of vast majority of Americans.

But Andrew Wakefield is clearly pro-Trump and anti-Clinton, based on this one issue. I’m sure there are actually liberals who would vote one issue on vaccines, just because they don’t want their precious snowflakes protected from vaccine preventable diseases.

More about Trump Wakefield

The meeting between Trump and Wakefield was discussed in greater detail by a rabid anti-vaccine blogger named Levi Quackenboss. Don’t be fooled by the name, the writer is a woman, who is a well known (by her real name) anti-vaccine troll who is active in anti-science groups such as the thoroughly discredited National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC).

Worse yet, Quackenboss used her troll powers to attack a 12 year old boy, Marco Aturo, who had made a YouTube video mocking the anti-vaccine cult. If you haven’t seen his video, which is both cute and pointed, here it is:

According to the investigative research of the peculiar Orac, Quackenboss engaged in some loathsome behavior:

Of all the antivaccinationists who made a run at Marco Arturo, the craziest of the crazy, the one who lost her mind way more than any other, the one who isn’t the least bit embarrassed about punching down and harassing a kid was the pseudonymous antivaccine blogger who goes by the ‘nym Levi Quackenboss. We’ve met her before. She has a history of going ballistic over pro-vaccine advocacy, such as when she lost it over an uncontroversial and rather bland CDC social media campaign promoting vaccination. More recently, she was blaming the Zika virus outbreak on—wait for it!—vaccines.

Quackenboss couldn’t just let Arturo’s video go. Oh, no. She couldn’t stand it. In fact, she couldn’t stand it so much that she tried to dox him. (Doxxing, in case you’re not familiar with it, is the same thing as “outing” a pseudonymous or anonymous commenter or blogger.) Yes, Quackenboss tried to dox a child. First, however, she couldn’t resist lecturing Arturo, in the process laying down a whole heaping helping of antivaccine misinformation first of the sort that I’ve deconstructed many, many times here, including the “toxins” gambit, the “too many too soon” gambit, false claims that the inactivated polio vaccine doesn’t prevent polio, the myth that polio vaccine contaminated with SV40 has caused an epidemic of cancer, the “CDC whistleblower” conspiracy theory, and even the conspiracy theory promulgated by Kenyan bishops that those evil tetanus vaccine campaigns are rendering Kenyan girls infertile.

What an awful human being.

Of course, Quackenboss was not the only loathsome troll that tried to get under Marco’s skin:

He’s going to be a brilliant scientist, in whatever field he wants, sometime in the near future. I was playing with chemistry sets (which you cannot get today) and cheap telescopes when I was his age, but I never got around to writing books or articles then. I’m going to go out on a limb and put him on the short list for a Nobel Prize in a couple of decades.

So, if you think that Quackenboss is anything but an angry, sad, ignorant, anti-vaccine troll, I don’t know what to say. But she loves to bully 12 year old boys, which was a laughable failure.

Let’s get back to Quackenboss and her Trump Wakefield love triangle.

Ms. Quackenboss, whose name would break an irony meter, if she actually understood irony, wrote in glowing terms about Trump’s anti-vaccine ignorance political position:

I want to share a few things with you about Andrew Wakefield’s meeting with Donald Trump. Maybe I should have written this a long time ago, but I didn’t ask permission to write it from the people involved before yesterday because I know what it’s like to be given an opportunity conditioned on keeping things said off the record.

The team that visited Trump last summer says that he is very consistent in his position on vaccines. He has certainly not abandoned us. They specifically talked with him about vaccine-induced autism and they report that Trump undoubtedly knows that vaccines can and do cause autism.

Trump asked the type of questions that show the depth of his knowledge of the subject, such as how the current schedule came into being and how he can change it. He is already up to speed on what is happening. He already understands the issue.

Well, I guess his depth of knowledge includes ignorance of the vast body of evidence in well-designed studies that show there is no link between vaccines and autism. But then again, Trump shows his science denial in his claims about climate change, which makes him consistent across the major science issues.

Quackenboss pushed another point that I hadn’t considered before:

Friends, we have a direct route to stopping this madness. Can you imagine that for a second? Can you just imagine having vaccine education advocates getting face-time with the person who appoints the director of the CDC?

Read that again: the President of the United States appoints the director of the CDC.

If that doesn’t scare you from voting for that lunatic Trump, I don’t know what will. The CDC’s responsibility ranges to all public health issues, not just vaccines. If Trump chose a science denier to run the CDC, how can we expect that the agency does it job in being at the forefront of public health across the world. Luckily, he cannot replace the majority of CDC employees, so they can do their work to protect Americans from disease. Of course, Trump might attempt to defund them – more angst for me.

Then Quackenboss moves on to the long list of right wing tropes about Hillary Clinton, like peddling influence from their foundation, getting bought off by Big Pharma, and whatever other lie pushed by the crackpot Trump campaign. By the way, the evidence is pretty solid that if Big Pharma were a greedy bunch, at least with respect to vaccines, they’d quit manufacturing vaccines today. They’d make a boatload more money selling stuff to treat all the sick children in hospitals. But she probably has as much skill in finance as she does in doxxing 12 year old children and reading real science.

 

The TL;DR version

There are metric tons of reasons to not vote for Trump. I could write 25 posts about it, but just search Trump on any rational, sane website and you’ll find at least 25 reasons to not vote for him.

But, if you really care about the lives of children, and understand that vaccines protect the lives of America’s (and the world’s) children, then knowing that the Trump Wakefield bromance exists should be near the top five or ten reasons to not vote for Trump. Vaccines are as safe and effective as any medical procedure. They save lives of children and adults. They are one of the greatest advances in medicine, ever.

If you want to listen to the lies of Andrew Wakefield or the willful ignorance of Donald Trump, that’s your choice in a free country. But sacrificing the health of our children to do so seems so wrong on so many levels.

 
 
The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!