Donald Trump’s dilettante utterances on climate change, evolution theory, and more, debase what little is left of the US’s standing in the world, argues PETER FROST.
President Trump is many things. He is clearly a racist, a misogynist, a fantasist and a liar.
Despite his pre-election promises he has now demonstrated that he is just as much a warmonger and a world policeman as other US presidents before him.
What he clearly isn’t, is any kind of scientist.
He denies climate change. Indeed his view is that global warming was created by the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.
Trump says that wind farms look disgusting and are bad for people’s health.
He believes that environment-friendly light bulbs can cause cancer. Yes, Donald, the UV from these bulbs is just as dangerous as sunlight.
Talking about the attack on the World Trade Centre he complained that “If we hadn’t removed the incredibly powerful fire retardant asbestos and replaced it with junk that doesn’t work the buildings would not have burnt down.” Nobody removed asbestos from the twin towers.
He thinks that the theory that God created the world and everything in it just 6,000 years ago is as valid as Darwin’s theory of evolution and both should be taught in schools.
Most of these remarks have only demonstrated his ignorance and given us a good laugh. However, his nonsense about child immunisation could cause illness and even death in families that take up his half-cocked ideas.
Here is his tweet on the subject: “Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn’t feel good and changes — AUTISM. Many such cases!”
It seems much of Trump’s science comes from watching TV in the middle of the night alone in the White House. In the wee small hours the bad science and conspiracy theory documentaries come thick and fast.
He does have scientific experts of course to advise him but right from the start Trump has silenced any government scientists who might contradict his nutty ideas.
Less than a week after his inauguration he gagged government scientists banning them from communicating with the public and the press. That ban continues.
He has selected his own advisers many of whom seem to have even more nutty views than the president.
Trump’s dangerous views on immunisation are neither new nor original.
Back in 1998, Andrew Wakefield (below with Trump) published a paper in The Lancet that claimed to show a link between children who were given the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism and bowel disease.
The General Medical Council decided that Wakefield had acted dishonestly and irresponsibly and had deliberately falsified scientific results — he was struck off the UK medical register.
The damage had already been done. Many people still believe that vaccinations cause illnesses and autism in children. They don’t.
In the US Robert F Kennedy Jr (below) has been a leading figure in promoting doubts about the safety of immunisation despite the vast weight of medical opinion encouraging it.
Now Trump has asked Kennedy to head a government tribunal on the subject. There can be little doubt what they will conclude and various children’s diseases will once again stalk the land.
This article first appeared in the Morning Star 26 May 2017.