Self-help author and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson joined The View on Thursday to promote policies aimed at ending violence, child poverty, and decreasing endless war. She also said some highly unfortunate shit about vaccines, for those of you wistful for the Jenny McCarthy days.
During an event in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Williamson compared mandatory vaccinations to anti-abortion legislation. “To me, it’s no different than the abortion debate,” Williamson said. “The U.S. government doesn’t tell any citizen, in my book, what they have to do with their body or their child.”
On Thursday morning, Williamson released a statement apologizing for making “comments which sounded as though I question the validity of life-saving vaccines” while maintaining a skeptical view of the pharmaceutical industry. It was an attitude she held onto during her appearance on The View hours later.
View co-host Meghan McCain asked Williamson what she would say to the children and the parents of children who are “going through chemotherapy and would be exposed to measles without [the vaccine]” and the current measles outbreak.
“First of all, I am not anti-vaccine,” said Williamson.“I think I misspoke in that one sentence.”
[America has a] revolving door policy by which big pharma, the CDC, and the FDA are so cozy so that millions of Americans who are not anti-science and are not anti-vaccine have some deep concern. The days of blind faith in big pharma are over. The days of blind faith in the idea that our government agencies do the proper oversight, the proper advocacy for the American people against at times the overreach of profit-making industries that are putting money before people... that is not an irrational or unreasonable thing.
McCain responded, “Now you’re okay with mandatory vaccines?”
“It’s not that now I’m okay,” said Williamson. “I haven’t changed since yesterday. I misspoke on that one sentence. But I will say this: if I were president of the United States—when I’m president of the United States—there would be a commission of scientists learning so that the American people see what’s going on with these vaccines who are not paid by big pharma.” (This kind of clear scientific consensus already exists.)
Williamson never explained what might be “going on” with vaccines to begin with, but she received a round of applause by the View audience regardless.
When asked again by co-host Sunny Hostin if she supports mandatory vaccinations, Williamson replied, “I understand that public safety must come first. But I also understand that we must have a balance between public safety and the issue of individual freedom. I do not trust the propaganda on either side.”
Co-host Joy Behar called the answer nebulous. Williamson backtracked: “I understand there are epidemics in which vaccines are absolutely lifesaving,” said Williamson. “I support vaccines.”
Williamson’s critiques of the pharmaceutical industry aren’t unfounded, and she’s not wrong to note that millions of Americans are distrustful of the system. But her vague insinuations of an unknown dark underbelly of vaccinations—something that has been roundly refuted by scientists across multiple fields—is a dangerous mistake.