Kennedy, De Niro Optimistic About Trump’s Effort to Study Vaccine Safety
WASHINGTON – Environmental activist Robert Kennedy Jr. and actor Robert De Niro are optimistic about President Trump’s effort to examine the safety of vaccines with the creation of a commission dedicated to the issue.
De Niro and Kennedy have teamed up on the World Mercury Project, which advocates for the elimination of mercury in vaccines.
During a news conference at the National Press Club today, Kennedy said many studies have shown a link between mercury in vaccines and neurodevelopment disorders. He also said some studies have linked thimerosal exposure to autism and that journalists should question lawmakers about the safety of vaccines.
Kennedy stressed that he supports safe vaccines and rejects being labeled as anti-vaccine, adding that no one called him “anti-fish” when he advocated for the elimination of mercury in fish.
“People of authority lie and it’s the job of journalists to check them. We can’t just take their word on stuff,” he said at the news conference.
Kennedy charged that Congress has been hesitant to address the issue of unsafe vaccines since the pharmaceutical industry spends more money than any other industry on lobbying. He said both parties accept contributions from the pharmaceutical industry. He also noted that the pharmaceutical industry pays the big networks a great deal of money for on-air advertisements.
“PhRMA puts in double into lobbying than oil and gas does,” he said.
De Niro told the audience he agreed with everything Kennedy said at the news conference. Both Kennedy and De Niro, a critic of Trump’s presidential campaign, were asked if they supported Trump’s proposal for a vaccine safety commission.
“Trump, I don’t care about. If he does the right thing, he does the right thing,” De Niro said. “I don’t have to be connected with him. It’s about this. Period.”
Kennedy said the Trump transition team approached him to lead the commission but his role has not been finalized yet.
“I don’t see why anyone is scared of safer vaccines. I’m not out to hurt the vaccine program,” Kennedy told the crowd.
“We should have good, robust, transparent science and we should have independent regulators who are not tied financially to the industry they are supposed to regulate,” he added.
He questioned why anyone would be opposed to a panel studying the safety of vaccinations.
“Why would anybody not want a vaccine safety commission?” he said. “The commission would be, as President Trump envisioned and me, it would be made up of Americans of the highest integrity – people who have not taken any position on this issue just to look at the science. You know, we need a debate on this.”
During a presidential primary debate in 2015, Trump said, “People that work for me, just the other day, 2 years old, beautiful child went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”