Donald Trump has never been a fan of disabled people. He’s got an obsession with the appearance of being “weak” or “crazy,” was hyperfocused on the idea that Hillary Clinton had some kind of neurological disorder like epilepsy, which he clearly viewed as a sort of human failing, and infamously mocked reporter Serge Kovaleski. But of all of the groups out there whom Donald Trump disdains, whom his policies will endanger profoundly, people with autism stand to suffer the most.
Trump’s coming at them from all sides. First, there’s his coy dabbling with anti vaccine generalissimos like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and theVaxxed crowd. Kennedy met with Trump and claimed that Trump had invited Junior to head up a “vaccine safety and scientific integrity” commission of some kind. It would certainly be richly ironic to have avowed anti vaccine irrationalist Kennedy head up a commission on anything having to do with public health. The Trump team almost immediately equivocated about Kennedy’s statements, basically categorizing them as the equivalent of a nice chat. Currently, Kennedy is reported to be saying that he will be heading up such a commission while the Trump camp has no more comment.
But that chat, according to Trump’s team, was about autism, not vaccines, and about “forming a commission on Autism [sic].” Add that to Trump’s brash and reckless pre-election assertions about vaccines and autism, one of the few public health issues he attends to at all, and you’ve got the makings for an all-out destruction of the edifices that support the autistic population. Trump’s negative attention never bodes anything good and almost invariably means he intends to lay waste to the target.Toying with Kennedy and bringing up autism yet again is just one way that Trump threatens this nation’s autistic population. And yes, it is a threat because every time someone raises autism as a specter and consequence to fear from vaccines, autism gets cast as the bogeyman. Trump’s own spouse seems to view a presumption of autism as an unforgivable insult. Vaccines aren’t the really scary thing in these narratives.