BEDFORD, N.Y. – Bedford's Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist and reported vaccine conspiracy theorist, said Tuesday that he has been asked by Bedford estate owner and president-elect Donald J. Trump to head a commission on federal immunization policy, according to multiple media reports.
The Washington Post reported that Kennedy, who is a lawyer and author but who does not have a medical degree, wrote an article for the Rolling Stone and Salon.com in 2005 about the dangers of thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative in certain vaccines, claiming that the government covered up evidence that it could cause autism and other disorders.
That theory has generally been debunked by scientists and doctors … and by the government itself, The Washington Post story said.
In said article, which was eventually retracted by Salon.com, Kennedy accused public health officials of allowing Big Pharma to “poison” American children. Rolling Stone left the story up, but published several corrections, The Washington Post reported.
Kennedy refused to back down, but eventually penned a toned-down book on the subject in 2014 with the lengthy title: “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak: The Evidence Supporting The Immediate Removal of Mercury – A Known Neurotoxin – From Vaccines.”
Kennedy is the son of Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy, a former U.S. senator for New York and U.S. attorney general, and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, both of whom were assassinated in the turbulent 1960s.
He told The Washington Post and nbcnews.com that the president-elect asked him to head a new commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity and that he has accepted the post.
(There is a federal advisory committee on immunization safety already, The Washington Post story said, adding that no one was certain what the new commission’s role would be.)
Trump, himself a critic of vaccines, would not comment, The Washington Post said.
However, a Trump spokeswoman told nbcnews.com that the soon-to-be 45th leader of the free world, was looking at forming a committee on autism, but that no firm decisions had been made.
The 62-year-old radio host told The Washington Post that he and Trump are both “very pro-vaccine,” but that doesn’t mean current policies are above scrutiny or that scientific theory shouldn’t ever be debated.
Trump also owns Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley in Stormville and Trump National Westchester in Briarcliff Manor. The Trump name also adorns Trump Tower At City Center in White Plains, Trump Plaza in New Rochelle, Trump Park Residences in Yorktown and the Donald J. Trump State Park on the Westchester/Putnam border.