Kennedy VP pick spews ‘greatest hits of the lies’ about autism

By Scott Waldman | 03/28/2024 06:30 AM EDT

Self-styled climate activist Nicole Shanahan blames autism on vaccines. Now she’s running with presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Nicole Shanahan speaks at a campaign event.

Nicole Shanahan speaks at a campaign event Tuesday for presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who selected Shanahan as his running mate. Eric Risberg/AP

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s running mate used her first official moment as a politician to share environmental conspiracy theories.

At her introduction on Tuesday in Oakland, California, Nicole Shanahan portrayed herself as a climate activist and an anti-war, pro-family vice presidential candidate who had become disillusioned by the major political parties. The longtime Democratic donor said she was leaving the party in part because its leaders were not doing enough to address climate change and pollution.

Shanahan then launched into a series of autism conspiracies that echo Kennedy’s own distortions, saying that a rise in autism diagnoses may be related to vaccines and that her own daughter’s autism diagnosis may be related to “environmental toxins.”


“No single safety study can assess the cumulative impact of one prescription on top of another prescription and one shot on top of another shot on top of another shot throughout the course of childhood,” Shanahan said to cheers. “Conditions like autism used to be one in 10,000. Now here in the state of California, it is one in 22.”