Trump Announces 2024 Proposal to Investigate Rising Autism Rates

Trump Announces 2024 Proposal to Investigate Rising Autism Rates
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association Convention in Indianapolis on April 14, 2023. (Michael Conroy, File/AP Photo)
Jack Phillips

Former President Donald Trump released a campaign video in which he vows to investigate the rising rates of autism and other chronic illnesses across the United States if he's elected in 2024.

“In recent decades, there has been an unexplained and alarming growth in the prevalence of chronic illnesses and health problems, especially in children,” Trump said in the Agenda47 video on June 6, asserting that there has been a “stunning rise in autism, autoimmune disorders, obesity, infertility, serious allergies, and respiratory challenges.”

Trump then asked whether it has to do with food, environmental pollution, or "the over-prescription of certain medications," noting that Americans spend billions of dollars simply trying to treat such health problems rather than investigating the cause.

Big corporations and pharmaceutical companies "don't want to ask the tough questions" about the rise in autism and children's health, he said.

"Too often, our public health establishment is too close to Big Pharma. They make a lot of money—big pharma, big corporations, and other special interests—and do not want to ask the tough questions about what is happening to our children’s health,” Trump said.

"This is a conversation that is long overdue, and it’s a conversation that American families deserve. They must have a leader, a president, who can do something about this problem. And I will do that.

“I will charge them with investigating what is causing the decades-long increase in chronic illnesses."

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adopted a new classification of autism after the agency published a study finding that 26.7 percent of 8-year-old children who have the condition have “profound autism.”  It means that more than 110,000 elementary school-age children in the United States have the condition.

For the study, researchers looked at school and medical records from 2000 to 2016 for more than 20,000 8-year-olds identified as having autism spectrum disorders. They found that the rate of profound diagnoses grew to about 5 cases per 1,000 in 2016 from about 3 cases per 1,000 children in 2000. However, the rate of kids diagnosed with milder forms of autism grew to 14 per 1,000 in that time span from 4 per 1,000.

While he was president, Trump signed the $1.8 billion Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act into law to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families.
In his campaign video, Trump didn't mention longstanding claims of a link between childhood vaccines and rising autism rates. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democratic 2024 presidential candidate, has been a champion of that theory for more than a decade, which has often put him at odds with medical and pharmaceutical researchers.

Other Proposals

For his 2024 campaign, Trump has released a number of proposals, including a year-long celebration of the United States' 250th birthday, hiring 100 new U.S. attorneys that oppose a "Marxist" agenda, an overhaul of the FBI and the Department of Justice, ending birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, implementing a federal stop and frisk program, and more anti-crime initiatives.

“There is no higher priority than quickly restoring law and order and public safety in America,” Trump's campaign website reads, noting that he'll make it a priority to “revitalize police departments and reclaim safety, dignity, and peace for law-abiding Americans."

If elected, Trump would "completely overhaul the federal Department of Justice and FBI."

"We will also launch sweeping civil rights investigations into Marxist local district attorneys,” he said earlier this year, referring to dozens of district attorneys who reportedly took campaign cash from left-wing billionaire George Soros.

An average of poll numbers shows that Trump holds a substantial lead over other candidates for the Republican nomination.
Jane Nguyen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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