Rep.-elect Mark Green (R-NC), a doctor, publicly embraces the debunked conspiracy theory that vaccines may lead to autism.

Tennessee congressman-elect Mark Green has a history of using anti-science, anti-Muslim, and anti-gay rhetoric. So naturally, the GOP freshman class elected him to be their leader.

Green, who won the House seat vacated by Marsha Blackburn when she ran for Senate, was elected unanimously by 30 freshman Republicans to be their class president.

His ignorant and bigoted views make him the perfect poster-child for Republicans in the Trump era.

Green, a medical doctor, recently embraced the debunked fringe theory that vaccines may cause autism. At a meeting with constituents after he was elected to the House, Green claimed that “there is some concern that the rise in autism is the result of the preservatives that are in our vaccines.”

It’s completely irresponsible for a doctor to say this. There is no link between vaccines and autism, and the idea that there is comes from fraudulent research.

When asked to clarify his statements later, Green doubled down. “There appears to be some evidence that as vaccine numbers increase, rates of autism increase,” he said. “We need better research, and we need it fast.”

Pediatricians “expressed dismay” at his comments, according to NBC News.

“[A]ny physician who espouses overt anti-vaccine views is contributing to our national decline in child public health, and could be considered in violation” of their Hippocratic oath, Dr. Peter Hotez, a pediatrician and dean of the school of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told NBC News.

Government agencies like the CDC have been working to dispel harmful myths like the ones Green is perpetuating.

And even though Green peddled these myths, his spokesperson told NBC that Green’s own children are vaccinated.

In addition to his anti-science remarks, the new leader of freshman Republicans has also trafficked in bigotry.

In 2017, Green was nominated to be Trump’s Secretary of the Army. Soon thereafter, his hateful rhetoric on a variety of topics came out, causing even Republican senators to question his fitness for the job.

“There’s a lot of controversy concerning his nomination,” the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said at the time, according to the Washington Post.

Green said it was a “great question” when someone at a 2016 tea party rally asked him about people who “don’t belong here, like Muslims in the United States.”

At the same rally, Green adamantly told attendees he would not stand for children to learn anything about Islam in school. “When you start teaching the pillars of Islam … we will not tolerate that in this state,” Green said.

Green also attacked members of the LGBTQ community, claiming that psychiatrists say “transgender is a disease.” Green’s anti-trans statement are not backed up by facts, as neither the American Medical Association nor the American Psychiatric Association say that being transgender is a mental disorder.

Green’s “dangerous views and hateful comments are disqualifying for any public servant,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in 2017.

When it came time to elect a class president, 30 new House Republicans rallied behind Green. His ideas — full of ignorance and disdain for fellow Americans — are apparently the best Republicans have to offer in the Trump era.

Published with permission of The American Independent.