Where Does Marianne Williamson Actually Stand on Vaccines?

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Marianne Williamson, the “dark psychic” horse of the 2020 Democratic primary, has used much of her time in the Democratic debates to promote a holistic solution to the crisis in the American health-care system. Amid other discussions on “healing,” Williamson told the crowd in Detroit, “We need to be the party talking about why so many of our chemical policies and our food policies and our agricultural policies and our environmental policies and even our economic policies are leading to people getting sick to begin with.”

As an author promoting spiritual self-help and alternative healing practices for almost three decades, Williamson has engaged with some of the more spurious health ideas that have come and gone in the New Age. (She once said that in order to dodge swine flu, people should “pour God’s love on our immune systems.”) The presidential candidate’s history in the field has left her with something of a secular-spiritual Biden Problem: She must convince potential voters that disconcerting past comments on HIV, vaccines, and antidepressants don’t represent her current views on health.

The author is surely the only 2020 candidate whose campaign has had to release a clarifying statement “on Science, Mental Health, and Antidepressants” and drop omni-directional defenses like this:

As Williamson spends the next month fundraising and retail-politicking in an attempt to qualify for the third debate, she may also have to allocate some of that time to damage control. After the second debate, when some Democratic viewers began vocalizing a semi-ironic passion for the author’s left-field charisma, others were more wary of her appeal.

To help clarify past comments and recent hedges, we’ve compiled all the times Williamson’s “radical truth-telling” intersected with medical practice.

Discussing vaccines at a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, in June, Williamson told her audience: “To me, it’s no different than the abortion debate. The U.S. government doesn’t tell any citizen, in my book, what they have to do with their body or their child.” She added that mandatory vaccinations are “draconian” and “Orwellian.”

The next day, Williamson retracted her comments in a statement that mirrors the doubt-casting, post-truth language of the anti-vaccine crowd.

In a statement to the Daily Beast, she added: “Public safety must be carefully balanced with the right of individuals to make their own decisions. I am sorry that I made comments which sounded as though I question the validity of life-saving vaccines. That is not my feeling and I realize that I misspoke.”

Williamson’s “Orwellian” remark may be the most damaging moment in her campaign thus far. But it wasn’t the first time she’d questioned the importance of vaccination: In a 2015 appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher, shortly after her failed run for Congress, Williamson said that “the facts are in about measles,” but she still harbored “a skepticism, which is actually healthy, on this issue of vaccinations.”

The topic came up again on Saturday at the AFSCME Democratic presidential forum, only this time Williamson associated vaccines with the opioid crisis and suggested she would challenge the vaccine industry as president. Per HuffPost:

“Vaccines work. That has never been my issue,” Williamson began, before immediately pivoting. “We also, however, have an opioid problem in this country,” she said, expressing her concern for the “over-sale [and] over-marketing of painkillers.”

[Asked if she] was comparing vaccines to the opioid crisis, Williamson continued criticizing “Big Pharma,” which she said she would subject to “legitimate and responsible oversight” by the federal government.

Asked to answer a “simple yes or no” to whether she believed school districts should be able to require parents to vaccinate their children, Williamson answered in the affirmative.

“I’m fine with that,” she said. “And when I’m president, we will have far more independent research having to do with the amount of vaccines, having to do with bundling, and none of that will be paid by Big Pharma.”

[Asked backstage] whether a President Williamson would tell all American parents to get their children the vaccines recommended by their doctors, she said yes. Then she declared her intention to increase the Food and Drug Administration’s budget to review unspecified drugs, suggesting she holds doubts on their safety. 

Some of Williamson’s most trust-in-the-spirit comments on health come from passages about HIV patients in her 1992 book Return to Love. Williamson, who worked as an advocate for people with HIV and AIDS in the 1980s, wrote: “Cancer and AIDS and other serious illnesses are manifestations of a psychic scream, and their message is not ‘Hate me,’ but ‘Love me.’”

In a tweet from June most likely meant to counter the book’s passages, Williamson stated:

Last year, on the day of fashion designer Kate Spade’s suicide, Williamson tweeted:

During a November appearance on Russell Brand’s podcast, she called clinical depression “a scam,” adding on Twitter:

In 2014, she also suggested that antidepressants contributed to Robin Williams’s suicide. And in 2008 the author claimed on Facebook that women suffering from postpartum depression were attempting to “numb” their pain.

In her weight-loss book Healing the Soul of America, Williamson lamented that patients “drop antidepressants today as though they were candy.” Years later on Twitter, she added that “there was no stigma to depression until it was medicalized.” And last summer she suggested that on Twitter antidepressants could be linked to America’s plague of mass shootings.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper last week, Williamson hedged again, apologizing for saying that clinical depression was a scam (it was a “a glib comment” that was “wrong of me to say.”) She did not, however, walk back her use of “numb” to describe the use of prescribed antidepressants. Per CNN:

When asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about her use of terms like “numb” and “mask” to describe antidepressants, Williamson came out against telling a seriously depressed person that taking an antidepressant would numb them.

“I think that would be a not good message and I think I’ve never given that message. That’s just never the way I’ve spoken and it is a complete mischaracterization of my commentary,” she said, adding that she had commented on “a normal spectrum of human despair.”

Williamson argued that “there is value sometimes in feeling the sadness” of difficult events as a part of life.

“So what I speak to is not serious – what is today called clinical depression, although I have questioned sometimes how that is looked at,” she said.

Calling for an end to the “sickness care” system in America is an alluring message, delivered with perfect outre-candidate candor, in a field battling over big ideas in health care. But a candidate acknowledging that she’s “questioned sometimes” the efficacy of diagnoses of depression is far less productive. Williamson’s prescriptions for the structural, spiritual revival of the body politic often fail when it comes to the human body.

Where Does Marianne Williamson Actually Stand on Vaccines?

Promoted links by Taboola

Trump blames news media, in part, for mass shootings

The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!


Rather than condemning white supremacist violence, Trump is using this weekend’s mass shootings to promote his immigration agenda

We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain. Likewise for those so seriously wounded. We can never forget them, and those many who came before them. Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying….

….this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!


A crowd in Dayton let their governor know that they want more than “thoughts and prayers”

In the wake of Dayton’s mass shooting Sunday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was shouted down by a crowd of vigil attendees wanting action.

As he took the stage in the Oregon District of Dayton, the location of Sunday’s mass shooting, and commented on the size of the crowd gathered, he was met with chants.

“Do something!” the crowd chanted over and over.

“We’re here tonight because we know that we cannot… we know that we cannot… ease the pain of those families who have lost someone,” said DeWine, a Republican, as the chants grew. “We also know that we want to do something.”

New Yorkers may finally have an actual reason for disliking their mayor: abuse of city resources

Mayor de Blasio has his own moving company – the NYPD.

Hizzoner ordered members of his troubled NYPD security detail to move his daughter out of an apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, multiple sources told the Daily News.

The move happened roughly one year ago under cover of night, the sources said. Chiara de Blasio lived in the apartment at 4th Ave. and 56th St. for roughly two years, according to a source close to de Blasio’s Executive Protection Unit.

The move was an abuse of city resources, that source said.

A second source with knowledge of the move was also disgusted. “They used detectives and department vehicles on city time to move his daughter … Please.”


Ivanka’s Eternal Ambitions

By Vanessa Grigoriadis

After the White House, she probably can’t go back to the city that made her. So she has cannily devised another exit strategy.

vision 2020

Where Does Marianne Williamson Actually Stand on Vaccines?

By Matt Stieb

The candidate’s prescriptions for the structural, spiritual revival of the body politic often fail when it comes to the human body.

Iran’s IRGC is at it again

Iran has seized another foreign tanker in the Gulf, Iranian state media say. A Revolutionary Guard Corps commander was quoted as saying it was “smuggling fuel for some Arab countries”.

The commander said the tanker was carrying 700,000l of fuel, adding that seven sailors had been detained. Later reports said the captured ship was Iraqi. …

The Revolutionary Guards’ Sepah News site said at the time that the ship was seized during naval patrols aimed at “discovering and confronting organised smuggling”.

gun violence

Everything We Know About the El Paso Walmart Massacre

By Chas Danner

More details have emerged about the attack, its victims, and the anti-immigrant domestic terrorist who murdered 20 people.

vision 2020

Trump Outperformed His Polling in 2016. Will He Again in 2020?

By Ed Kilgore

He won as the most unpopular major-party nominee in memory. But he benefited from a desire for change that won’t favor him in 2020.

gun violence

Everything We Know About the Dayton Mass Shooting

By Chas Danner

Nine people were killed and 26 were injured after a gunman opened fire in a packed nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio.

Perhaps a border swamp would be easier

A Republican senator held up the confirmation of a White House budget official this week in an attempt to obtain sensitive information about border wall contracts he has been trying to steer to a major donor, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.

The emails show Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) blasting the “arrogance” of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after senior military officials told him the contracts contained sensitive, proprietary information provided by the companies that could not be shared. In recent months, Cramer has touted his preferred construction firm, North Dakota-based Fisher Industries, and campaign finance records show the senator has received thousands of dollars in contributions from company chief executive Tommy Fisher and his family members.

Cramer put a temporary hold this week on the confirmation of Michael Wooten, a nominee for a senior post at the White House Office of Management and Budget. After Wooten was confirmed Thursday, Cramer lashed out at the Army Corps in private emails when he was told the contracting bids contain sensitive information.

“This is a woefully inadequate response and not what I was promised by the White House as a condition for releasing my hold on the confirmation of the nominee for the Federal Procurement Officer,” Cramer wrote, copying others at OMB, the White House and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

the national interest

the national interest

Putin’s 2020 Playbook

By Jonathan Chait

Our electoral vulnerabilities are so extreme, the next hack could easily be worse.

the national interest

the national interest

Trump: I Skip Vetting Nominees, Pass the Savings on to You

By Jonathan Chait

Trump has some ideas about where to cut costs in government.

vision 2020

Gravel ’20 Is Done

By Ed Kilgore

It was an improbable social-media based effort run by teenagers bristling with hostility to the “American empire,” but they made a mark.

vision 2020

With Some Elbow Room, Amy Klobuchar Could Have a Moment

By Ed Kilgore

The Minnesotan could become the candidate of Bidenism Without Biden, but she needs a lot of breaks.

the national interest

the national interest

Trump Directs Government to Punish Washington Post Owner

By Jonathan Chait

Trump is going after Amazon as retribution for Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post.


Trump abruptly withdraws DNI pick in face of Republican opposition

Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media. Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people….

….John has therefore decided to stay in Congress where he has done such an outstanding job representing the people of Texas, and our Country. I will be announcing my nomination for DNI shortly.


Trump gets a diplomatic win, of sorts

A$AP Rocky released from prison and on his way home to the United States from Sweden. It was a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP!


daniel pantaleo

Judge Recommends Officer Who Choked Eric Garner Be Fired

By Benjamin Hart

It may be the end of the line for Daniel Pantaleo, more than five years after his lethal actions reverberated across the country.


The Last Black Republican in the House Waves the White Flag

By Zak Cheney-Rice

Five years ago, Republicans thought they had to become more diverse to win. Will Hurd’s departure symbolizes their abandonment of that path.

It’s official

JUST IN: President Trump signs budget deal increasing military spending and the deficit, White House says.



Joe Biden Is the Reason Obama’s Legacy Is on Trial

By Sarah Jones

It’s difficult for other candidates to run against Joe Biden without running against the Obama presidency.


At the Fortnite World Cup With the Game’s Youngest Star Yet

By Brian Feldman

H1ghSky1, a.k.a. 12-year-old Patrick Bragaru, is too young to compete in the tournament, but still has plenty of fans.

Trump to Kim: “Come on buddy, be cool”

Kim Jong Un and North Korea tested 3 short range missiles over the last number of days. These missiles tests are not a violation of our signed Singapore agreement, nor was there discussion of short range missiles when we shook hands. There may be a United Nations violation, but..

…..Chairman Kim does not want to disappoint me with a violation of trust, there is far too much for North Korea to gain – the potential as a Country, under Kim Jong Un’s leadership, is unlimited. Also, there is far too much to lose. I may be wrong, but I believe that……

….Chariman Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as President, can make that vision come true. He will do the right thing because he is far too smart not to, and he does not want to disappoint his friend, President Trump!



More disturbing news on the climate front

July was Earth’s hottest month ever recorded, “on a par with, and possibly marginally higher” than the previous warmest month, which was July 2016, according to provisional data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service. This European climate agency will have a full report for all of July on Monday, but a spokesperson said enough data (through July 29) has already come in to make this declaration.

The monthly global average temperature anomaly was 2.16 degrees (1.2 Celsius) above preindustrial levels, the center reported in its preliminary figures Friday.

Absolutely horrifying

A patrol officer accidentally shot and killed a woman when he fired repeatedly at a dog that was charging at him, authorities in the Dallas suburb of Arlington said.

The officer and other emergency workers responded Thursday to a welfare check concerning a woman who appeared to be passed out in a grassy area near a commercial district. The barking dog was unrestrained and ran toward the officer as he was calling the woman. The officer began backing away, then drew his weapon and fired at the dog as it continued to charge.

The woman yelled out after the shots were fired. She was taken to a hospital, where she died. The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office identified her as 30-year-old Margarita Victoria Brooks.

Biden still looking good in first round of post-debate polling

Post-debate Morning Consult Dem WH poll (conducted 8/1)

Biden 32%

Sanders 18%

Warren 15%

Harris 10%

Buttigieg 6%

Booker 3%

O’Rourke 3%

Yang 2%


Big news in the Eric Garner case

BREAKING: Sources tell NY1 that an NYPD judge will recommend that Daniel Pantaleo be fired from the police department for his role in Eric Garner’s death five years ago.



This New Ivanka Podcast Is the Juiciest Show of the Summer

By the Cut

Introducing Tabloid, a new podcast from New York and Luminary.

Read More


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: