Daniel Smith is the author of Muses, Madmen, and Prophets and Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety. He holds the Critchlow Chair in English at The College of New Rochelle.

NYR DAILY

Trump’s Threat to Public Health

Death the Vaccinator,  published by The London Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination, late nineteenth century

Skepticism about vaccines is as old as vaccination itself. But contemporary vaccine refusal has its roots in 1998. Today, President Donald Trump is not only the most prominent and media-savvy fear-monger in the English-speaking world, but also a dedicated, unabashed, very loud purveyor of myths about the dangers of vaccines. The stakes are huge—the danger being that Trump’s support for the anti-vaccination position will pry open and expand these pockets of resistance.