GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's foundation reportedly donated $10,000 to an anti-vaccine charity run by Jenny McCarthy in 2010.
Nonprofit records show the donation from the Trump Foundation to Generation Rescue, which promotes "alternative vaccination physicians," according to The Daily Beast.
Karen Ernst, executive director of the pro-vaccine Voices for Vaccines, said: "Generation Rescue supports many terrible theories concerning vaccines, and also promotes autism as something with a stigma, something parents should fear more than measles."
McCarthy told CNN in 2012 that vaccinations "triggered" her son's autism, and cited herself and the boy's father as her evidence.
The host of the CNN interview told McCarthy that the scientific community warned about possible deaths from not getting vaccinated, and the former Playboy model countered: "People are also dying from vaccinations. Evan, my son, died in front of me for two minutes."
McCarthy did not elaborate on her son's death and apparent resurrection, but insisted that she was not telling people not to vaccinate, but rather wanted "safe shots and a safer schedule."
McCarthy insisted that her son had "recovered from autism like thousands of other kids that are doing it, following biomedical treatment, which is basically changing the diet, giving vitamins and supplements, and detoxing the body from metals or candida."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states, "There is no link between vaccines and autism," and "Vaccine ingredients do not cause autism."
Trump himself pushed the false vaccine-autism link on Twitter in March 2014: "Healthy young child goes to doctor, gets pumped with massive shot of many vaccines, doesn't feel good and changes -- AUTISM. Many such cases!"
Trump tweeted in September 2014: "I am being proven right about massive vaccinations -- the doctors lied. Save our children [and] their future."
While Trump spread debunked rumors about vaccines and autism in 2014, doctors were warning about an increase of non-vaccinated children (for non-scientific reasons) in several states, and there was a measles outbreak that struck 189 people, notes The Daily Beast.
The news site sponsored a study earlier this year that found anti-vaccination voters most often mentioned Trump as a public figure who agreed with their opinions.
Trump’s campaign and Generation Rescue did not respond to questions from The Daily Beast, which notes that Trump said in a 2015 GOP debate: "Autism has become an epidemic … I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time."
Trump added that he knew about a child who "went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic."
However, Ernst said spreading out vaccinations is a bad idea:
The CDC [vaccination] schedule is well studied and researched, and based on giving children vaccines when they can best respond to them and when they’re most at risk for bad complications for the diseases that vaccinations prevent. Spreading vaccines out more is unresearched and leaves children at risk for longer. Spreading them out longer is not an evidence-based way to deliver vaccines.