Business mogul Donald Trump chose the fifth annual World Autism Awareness Day to reveal that he "strongly" believes that autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are linked to exposure to vaccines.
In a Monday interview on Fox News, the reality star explained that a series of casual observations had led him to the conclusion that "monster" vaccinations cause autism.
"I've gotten to be pretty familiar with the subject," Trump said. "You know, I have a theory -- and it's a theory that some people believe in -- and that's the vaccinations. We never had anything like this. This is now an epidemic. It's way, way up over the past 10 years. It's way up over the past two years. And, you know, when you take a little baby that weighs like 12 pounds into a doctor's office and they pump them with many, many simultaneous vaccinations -- I'm all for vaccinations, but I think when you add all of these vaccinations together and then two months later the baby is so different then lots of different things have happened. I really -- I've known cases."
"You know that most physicians disagree with that," co-host Gretchen Carlson noted. "And the studies have said that there is no link. It used to be thought that is was the mercury in those vaccinations, which they have not had for years and, yet, we are at the highest number in recent time of autism. So, maybe it's environmental."
"It's also very controversial to even say," Trump acknowledged. "But I couldn't care less. I've seen people where they have a perfectly healthy child, and they go for the vaccinations and a month later the child is no longer healthy."
"It happened to somebody that worked for me recently," he added. "I mean, they had this beautiful child, not a problem in the world, and all of the sudden they go in and they get this monster shot. You ever see the size of it? It's like they're pumping in -- you know, it's terrible, the amount. And they pump this in to this little body and then all of the sudden the child is different a month later. I strongly believe that's it."
Nearly 20 studies in recent years -- including one from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) -- have found no link between autism and vaccines. In fact, the CDC found that children who developed autism spectrum disorder had less exposure to vaccines that contained mercury.
A 1998 paper published by British medical journal The Lancet that linked autism to vaccinations was retracted in 2010 after it was discovered that the study's author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, had been paid by a lawyer suing vaccine makers.
Watch the video below from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast on April 2, 2012.