Another Appalling Display Of Trumpidian Ignorance

Just when you think the President has hit rock bottom, it gets worse.

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates recently told an audience he was speaking to about the difficulties he’s encountered in meeting with the President:

Bill Gates discloses in newly revealed footage that President Trump twice asked him to clarify the difference between HIV and human papillomavirus (HPV).

MSNBC’s “All in With Chris Hayes” aired footage Thursday night of the Microsoft founder speaking at a Gates Foundation event, telling the crowd about two meetings he had with Trump, one at Trump Tower during the presidential transition and another at the White House last year.

“Both times he wanted to know if there was a difference between HPV and HIV,” Gates said. “So I was able to explain that those were rarely confused with each other.”

Gates also said that at both meetings Trump had asked him about the negative effects of vaccines.

“In both of those two meetings, he asked me if vaccines weren’t a bad thing, because he was considering a commission to look into the ill effects of vaccines,” Gates said.

“And I said, ‘No, that’s a dead end. That would be a bad thing, don’t do that.'”

Hayes posted two clips from the footage on his Twitter feed before the show aired last night:

As any person who is even modestly informed should know, HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is the virus that causes AIDS. HPV, on the other hand, stands for Human Papilloma Virus, a virus which has been linked to cervical cancer and other conditions. Unlike HIV, there is a vaccine for HPV which many doctors recommend be given to patients as young as thirteen given the fact that HPV can be spread via sexual contact and that there can be a long time between infection with the virus and the occurrence of cervical cancer or other diseases. The only real similarity between HIV and HPV is that both can be spread via sexual contact. The fact that a President of the United States is apparently unaware of this is, to say the very least, alarming.

As for the part of his discussion with Gates about vaccination generally, it’s worth noting that Trump has a long history of repeating demonstrably false claims made by the anti-vaccination movement and has continued to support those claims as President:

Among the conspiracy theories in regular rotation by President Trump is his insistence there is a connection between autism and vaccines.

He’s made this discredited link — a theory based and popularized on a now-debunked and retracted study by Andrew Wakefield — via speeches, tweets, even the Republican debate stage.

On Tuesday, in a conversation with educators and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Trump reiterated these concerns. “So what’s going on with autism?” he asked a teacher in the audience. “When you look at the tremendous increase, it’s really — it’s such an incredible — it’s really a horrible thing to watch, the tremendous amount of increase.”

“Maybe we can do something,” he added.

It’s not surprising that Trump continues to suggest that vaccinations can cause autism — he’s been saying as much for years. But as president, Trump’s position carries outsized weight, and has the power to significantly impact autism research and treatment, as well the number of preventable outbreaks of viral-borne diseases such as measles and mumps.

There are indications Trump plans to set up a “vaccine safety commission” headed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a vocal proponent of the theory that vaccines cause autism. Kennedy told Politico as much, adding that he has met with Trump’s staff and transition team “many times” since the election to discuss the issue, hinting that a formal announcement from the White House is forthcoming.

For its part, the medical community has been consistent and adamant on this point: There is no proven connection between vaccines and autism. While autism diagnoses have risen noticeably over the couple decades — climbing from one in 150 in 2000 to one in 68 today, according to the CDC — experts attribute much of this to better diagnosis techniques and increased awareness.

This is the President you elected America.

 

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Health Care, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. drj says:

    And, of course, there’s this: Bill Gates Was a Little Creeped Out by How Much Donald Trump Knew About His Daughter:

    “He went up and talked to Jen and was being super nice,” Gates said. “And then like 20 minutes later he flew in on a helicopter to the same place. So clearly he had been driven away and wanted to make a grand entrance on a helicopter”

    “So when I first talked to him it was actually kind of scary how much he knew about my daughter’s appearance,” Gates said, prompting groans from the crowd. “Melinda [Gates’ wife] did not like that too well.”

    Classy!

    Oh, and there has been another school shooting: 8 killed. The price we pay for freedom.

    7
  2. teve tory says:

    If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. accidentally fell into the ocean tomorrow it would noticeably cut down on this vaccines-cause-autism gibberish.

    vaccines do not cause autism.

    I have a friend who’s a virologist and nothing makes her teeth grind like antivaxxers.

    9
  3. Kathy says:

    If only there was a Trumpism vaccine….

    8
  4. teve tory says:

    This is the President you elected America.

    Well, it’s the president a particular group of people elected.

    The Trump era is a renaissance of half-witted intolerance

    2
  5. Joe says:

    I can live with his inability to distinguish HPV and HIV cause that’s just him being stupid, but to promote in any way the vaccine/autism connection affirmatively hurts particular kids (who are not getting vaccinated based on this fear) and the population in general (due to the reduction in herd immunity). It maddening in a whole different way from his casual stupidity.

    16
  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @drj:

    The price we pay for freedom.

    We have to make periodic sacrifices of children to the NRA gods…lest society crumble before us.

    4
  7. MarkedMan says:

    This is the man that modern Republicans rally around. Not just rally around but help him cover up corruption as blatant as Spiro Agnew accepting envelopes stuffed with cash from mobsters while sitting in the his Vice Presidential office.

    2
  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I mean…this is almost laughable…except public policy is being made by this ignoramous.
    Yesterday he also mangled the history of Libya giving up WMD and the death of Gaddafi. Yet he is barreling into a summit with North Korea and will get his lunch handed to him by Kim…who apparently has twice the IQ of Dennison.
    I’m beginning to think that when he says there was no collusion, he simply doesn’t know what collusion is.

    8
  9. teve tory says:

    The origins of the antivaxx nonsense are interesting. In the late 90’s some lawyers paid a British researcher hundreds of thousands of Ameros to create studies linking vaccinations with autism so they could then do Big Lawsuits against the drug companies. He did, committing pretty obvious fraud in the process, and other researchers said “This isn’t right.” and it was investigated and he was defrocked. But no pseudoscience is ever discredited enough to die, and here we are 20 years later with millions of people believing it’s true.

    9
  10. Lounsbury says:

    @drj:

    yes it was the daughter thing that caught my eye.

    1
  11. Franklin says:

    @teve tory:

    If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. accidentally fell into the ocean tomorrow …

    … it would raise sea levels?

    11
  12. teve tory says:

    @Franklin: :-p

    2
  13. Franklin says:

    @Franklin: If anyone missed my reference, it’s to this:

    GOP representative Mo Brooks is a smart one …

    4
  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Franklin:
    This goes back to my comment at 12:02…these idiots, who refuse to use the brain that evolution graced them with, are making public policy. To call him a half-wit is to give him too much credit.

    3
  15. teve tory says:

    My short description of modern conservatives is “Stupid People with Shitty Values” and Mo Brooks’s scientific hypothesis doesn’t contradict that.

    5
  16. teve tory says:

    Ah the Branch Trumpidians:

    Georgia Sec of State Kemp, running for governor, put out an ad pledging to round up “criminal illegals” in his “big truck”
    Not to be outdone, state Sen. Williams started a “deportation bus” tour framing the undocumented as “murderers, rapists, kidnappers”

    2
  17. MBunge says:

    Let’s stipulate for argument’s sake that every single negative thing written about Donald Trump here is true. He’s still the President and if you think that happened because EVERYBODY ELSE is stupid, you should probably think a lot longer and harder about the issue.

    Mike

  18. Hal_10000 says:

    Well, Trump doesn’t have to worry too much about the HPV/HIV distinction given his reserved lifestyle of [checks notes] sleeping with anyone who stand still long enough.

  19. HankP says:

    This is the President you elected America.

    No, this is the President the Republicans elected. I’m still hoping this will be the end of “both sides are bad” but fully expect it to be back in a few years.

    8
  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Franklin:

    … it would raise sea levels?

    Well done sir. Points for speed.

    1
  21. MarkedMan says:

    [May 18, 2018, Accumulated-Bonus-Points-From-God department}
    Today I typed a snide, witty, cutting remark to a troll, and then deleted it before I sent it.

    5
  22. Roger says:

    @MBunge: I don’t think Trump was elected because everyone else is stupid. I think he was elected by a coalition of: 1. people who will always vote for the person with R behind their name, no matter what; 2. people who thought Hillary Clinton was the devil, and would vote for anyone else over her; 3. people who thought Trump was going to be good on the one issue they cared about (abortion, or tax cuts, or deregulation, or…), and either thought he could be controlled on other issues or didn’t care what he did about those issues; 4. people who were tired of the status quo and just wanted to blow it all up; and 5. racists and other deplorables.

    I wildly disagreed with all of these justifications, but I saw how a person in at least the first four categories could vote for Trump without being stupid. But if you’re still standing up for him, I have a hard time seeing anything other than willfully ignorant, stupid, or deplorable. If you can explain an alternative, I’m open to hearing it.

    25
  23. Kylopod says:

    @teve tory: It reminds me a little of the Protocols for the Elders of Zion—not just a dubious notion that’s been disproven in an abstract sense (like, say, homeopathy), but something that’s been exposed as an outright fiction invented with the express purpose of deceiving others, and yet millions continue to believe it because it suits their prejudices.

    2
  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Well, Trump doesn’t have to worry too much about the HPV/HIV distinction given his reserved lifestyle

    Good point. Trump, aside from being shiftless, lazy, unable to even conceptualize of a higher moral obligation than his immediate animalistic cravings, is also notorious for having less control of his sexual appetites than a 13 year old pimply pubescent. The fact that after a lifetime of condom free sexual encounters he doesn’t even understand the basics of sexually transmitted diseases should give great pause to all the idiots who willingly let him inside. But who knows, maybe that old grade school chestnut is true: if you are in and out in less than a minute you can’t get the clap.

    1
  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    if you think that happened because EVERYBODY ELSE is stupid

    Not everyone…just 62,984,824 people, and you.

    14
  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: You are dead on. I’ve told the old “joke” about the two Texas oilmen often enough here that I will footnote* it, but the point still holds: if you make a habit of telling lies for convenience you eventually lose the power to discern between bullsh*t and lies.

    *During the Texas crude boom in the twenties there were a couple of old time oilmen in a bar sipping whiskey and complaining about all the newcomers coming in and wreaking havoc. “And dumb, man these guys are dumb!”, says Houston Slim. “Got that right”, replies Amarillo Fatty. “Why, if I started a rumor that oil had been discovered in hell these city slickers would pack their bags and head down to try to cheat the devil out of a claim! In fact, I might just do that!”, and with that, Houston Slim slams down his glass, claps on his hat and stalks out of the bar.

    Sure enough, over the next several weeks Amarillo Fatty hears more and more about this oil strike in hell and one by one, then several at a time and finally a veritable flood of the city slickers have run off to the nether regions. Fatty is back in the bar when a breathless Houston Slim plops down next to him and shouts, “Bartend, a whiskey, and quick! I’ve got a train to catch.” Fatty gives a hard sidelong glance at Slim’s battered suitcase with a necktie dangling out, sips his whiskey for a bit, and finally asks, “Where you off to in such a hurry?” “Gotta catch a train to hell! Didn’t you hear? Biggest find ever and the best fields are getting snapped up!” Fatty gives him a long look. “But you know that’s just something that came out of the south end of a north facing steer. In fact, didn’t you start that rumor yourself?” “Why, that may be so, but so many people are going there, there must be something to it!”

    And that is the modern Republican Party in a nutshell…

    8
  27. teve tory says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I’d say it’s more ignorance and racism, with stupidity as a lesser ingredient.

    1
  28. Stormy Dragon says:

    You should have seen what happened when the Secretary of Transportation proposed more funding for HOV lanes.

    2
  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MBunge: It’s not because they are stupid (allowing for the fact that a fair percentage certainly are) it’s because they thought having a moron in the White House would be a good thing. One of those 2 is true of you.

    4
  30. just nutha says:

    @MBunge: Going along with your opening hypothesis and your statement regarding objective reality, the question still remains–why would good, intelligent people elect a person about whom so much negative but objective truth is known?

    @ Marked Man: Kudos to you. I didn’t delete mine. (Assertions about its qualities are exclusively my ego talking.)

    2
  31. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    [May 18, 2018, Accumulated-Bonus-Points-From-God department}
    Today I typed a snide, witty, cutting remark to a troll, and then deleted it before I sent it.

    Are you sure that wasn’t rash?

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    Are you sure that wasn’t rash?

    I’m really enjoying Westworld. While I’m not sure what to think about the self awareness of the later post-Bernard “hosts’, I think the very first hosts fall into the same category as some of the posters here. And actively arguing with an entity pre-programmed to say the same things over and over and incapable of learning anything new seems to make more of a fool of me than them…

    2
  33. teve tory says:

    I’m really enjoying Westworld. While I’m not sure what to think about the self awareness of the later post-Bernard “hosts’, I think the very first hosts fall into the same category as some of the posters here. And actively arguing with an entity pre-programmed to say the same things over and over and incapable of learning anything new seems to make more of a fool of me than them…

    The SuperTrumpers are about as mindless as robots, and there’s really no point talking to them. There’s only about 4-5, and just skipping over them gives me a much better OtB experience.

    1
  34. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Westworld…. Wasn’t that the movie where the heroic Simpson family defeats a horde of robotic cats and mice with throwaway flash cameras? Wasn’t there someone named Bort? 🙂

    1
  35. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I think you are referring to the Simpsons parody of the original 1973 “Westworld” film that inspired the recent HBO series that we’ve been repeatedly referencing here.

    I should note that the HBO series and the 1973 film are vastly different animals. Even though the show borrows the film’s basic premise of a Wild West-themed amusement park with robots that begin killing the visitors, it’s much more of a spiritual successor to “Blade Runner.”

  36. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I thought The Simpsons episode was a parody of Disneyland 😉

    Seriously, I’m aware of the film and I hear there’s a TV series now. I’ve seen neither. I like keeping a contrarian streak now and then.

    1
  37. Charon says:

    @Kylopod:

    I would call it closer to “Dollhouse” than “Blade Runner.”

    Very similar situations, “Dolls” that gradually develop the ability to remember through mindwipes, evil corporation with grand ambitions beyond running theme parks (Delos) or Dollhouses (Rossum), more.

    3
  38. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    Let’s stipulate for argument’s sake that every single negative thing written about Donald Trump here is true. He’s still the President and if you think that happened because EVERYBODY ELSE is stupid, you should probably think a lot longer and harder about the issue.

    It’s not EVERYBODY, Bung, just 46% of the people who showed up to vote. And for the record I have said from Day One that the disturbing thing was not just this vulgar, racist pig of a man, but that 46% of voters were so stupid, indifferent or filled with hate that they’d vote for this vulgar, racist pig.

    Yes, that is the problem, Bung: people like you. And it wouldn’t matter if 50 or 60 or 70% of people were like you, you’d still be 100% wrong and you’d still have made a terribly damaging decision for stupid reasons. There will never be a vindication for you, not ever, a vote for Trump will never be expunged from your record. You and your ilk will be a cautionary tale in the death of democracy.

    17
  39. Robert in SF says:

    I am going to predict that if the Press Secretary or any other White House spokesperson is asked about this, the President’s true questions and reasons will somehow be transmogrifiedinto a statement about the need for abstinence-only sex education…that somehow the President was really highlighting in his questions that HIV and HPV are similar (both are STDs, and have life-long implications when they are transmitted), but that condoms do not protect against HPV as well, if at all, and therefore it was actually Bill Gates who didn’t understand what the conversation was really about…that Bill Gates may be a computer guy, but he doesn’t understand people, and that conservative Americans do understand people…so teaching kids that condoms make sex safe is not only morally wrong, but also scientifically wrong as well….so the only safe sex is no sex! Or something like that…

    Just wait and see.

    3
  40. MarkedMan says:

    @Charon: FWIW, I love the show, but feel it hasn’t yet grappled with the basic video game question. Is William doing bad things? But what if he is right and the hosts are just mindless robots?

    1
  41. Mister Bluster says:
  42. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I love the show, but feel it hasn’t yet grappled with the basic video game question. Is William doing bad things? But what if he is right and the hosts are just mindless robots?

    I disagree that it hasn’t grappled with the question. It hasn’t answered the question, but it’s definitely grappled with it.

  43. teve tory says:

    @Mister Bluster: with all his money bezos probly owns half the congress, so i doubt this’ll go anywhere.

  44. Warren Peese says:

    You would think that Trump would know all about HPV. After all, he did say that avoiding STDs was his personal Vietnam.

    2
  45. DrDaveT says:

    it’s worth noting that Trump has a long history of repeating demonstrably false claims made by __________________

    The generalization is more correct, and more informative, than the specific instance.

  46. motopilot says:

    @Robert in SF: @Robert in SF: We have in common a) a first name b) a point of view and c) an avatar. And d) being on the left coast.

  47. Robert in SF says:

    @motopilot:
    I have a funny (to me) story your comment reminds me of:

    I was on a plane years ago, coming back home here to San Francisco, and a woman was seated next to me who started a conversation with me by asking where I was heading.
    I replied, “I am heading to San Francisco.”
    She answered, just slightly snidely, “Ah, over to the Left Coast.”
    Now, I don’t mind if people want to talk politics some with strangers in public, but they don’t have to be an asshole about it. 🙂 This is about her, of course. She was the stranger in public.
    I responded lightly, not wanting to cause tension on a long flight, but sensing the disdain in her voice, “Well, it’s only the left coast if you look at it from Mexico…if you look at it from Canada, it’s the right coast.”
    She retorted, ever so rudely, “No, California will always be the Left Coast!”
    I once again tried to be pleasant, and countered with, “Well, don’t forget, California was the state that gave us Ronald Reagan”.
    She gleefully agreed, and added, “Yes! And we owe a debt of thanks to California for Ronald Reagan!”.
    I returned with, “Funny you should mention debt and Ronald Reagan in the same sentence.”
    She didn’t reply or speak to me again for the rest of the flight.

    1
  48. becca says:

    Gates has to be goading trump for a reason. He certainly knew his comments would be newsworthy.

    Not surprised by the tawdriness of trump, of course, just the public spanking Gates offered up.

  49. From the subhead:

    Just when you think the President has hit rock bottom, it gets worse.

    It’s turtles all the way down, man.