Democrats exonerate “giant anti-vaxxer” Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats commented Thursday on 2024 Democratic presidential nominee Robert F. Kennedy Jr., calling his views on vaccines dangerous and urging him to end his wide-ranging campaign against President Joe Biden.

“He’s a big anti-vaccine. I don’t think that’s the kind of leadership we need,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) told HuffPost.

“I think he’s strayed dramatically from a fact-based approach to public policy,” added Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “At some point he might want to consider that what he’s doing is harming President Biden.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he finds it “difficult to understand why someone with an IQ this high into the second or third grade would be so gullible as to accept some of what he puts out.”

Kennedy, the son of assassinated US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in April. The 69-year-old environmental lawyer is one of the most influential spreaders There are more and more conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination misinformation that have even drawn heavy criticism from his own family.

Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appears on Fox News.
Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appears on Fox News.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Kennedy’s brother, sister and niece condemned his public anti-Vax stance I2019 as “part of a misinformation campaign that has heartbreaking — and deadly — consequences.”

Numerous studies have found no evidence to support the notion that vaccines cause autism and other chronic diseases. Despite this, vaccination rates have fallen, researchers note have linked to the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases.

That didn’t stop Kennedy, who once compared the experiences of anti-vaccination people to it Victims of the Holocaustincluding Anne Frank.

Kennedy also frequently criticized US support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s bloody invasion. On Wednesday Kennedy expressed his belief that Russia in “good faith” Amid the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, he added that the US did indeed bear a great deal of responsibility for the ongoing war. He said the war was a “creation of an unrelenting foreign domination mentality” in the United States.

Prominent conservatives have showered Kennedy with praise including the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and podcast host Joe Roganwho recently spoke with Kennedy on this show and pointed to the criticism he received from Democrats as yet another case of censorship and “abandon culture” running amok.

Kennedy is alleged planning to testify before the Republican House of Representatives Committee on “Arming” the Government on Censorship, a body formed in early 2023 dedicated to protecting former President Donald Trump from legal threats.

Despite all that, Kennedy did it secured a not inconsiderable Proportion of support in early polls of the Democratic primary against Biden. A poll by Quinnipiac University That month he was up 17% versus Biden’s 70%, which was “an encouraging reminder of left-wing voters’ healthy appetite for a Biden alternative and a blatant symbol of the president’s weaknesses,” they say The New York Times.

“I don’t think it’s politically relevant. I think it’s media relevant.”

— Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)

One explanation for Kennedy’s support in the polls could simply be his famous surname, even if voters are not particularly familiar with him or his anti-vaccine campaign.

The possibility that Kennedy or Marianne Williamson, another 2024 Democratic presidential nominee, could win the Iowa or New Hampshire primary early next year worries Democrats. Biden’s team has specified He won’t be voting in those states if they hold their primary before South Carolina, as part of a new calendar designed to empower minority voters. A win by anyone other than Biden would be a major embarrassment to the president’s re-election efforts.

But Kennedy’s candidacy ultimately did not shake Democrats, who believe Biden will almost certainly be their party’s nominee for president in 2024.

“I am very confident that Mr. Kennedy’s candidacy will be rejected outright,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who is an acquaintance of Kennedy. “I support President Biden and wish Mr. Kennedy would drop out of the race.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), meanwhile, dismissed Kennedy as a product of media fascination rather than a serious challenge to an incumbent president.

“Of course it’s fun to write about it. He has crazy ideas. “The media has no interest in the Democratic primary being a dope,” Murphy said. “I don’t think it’s politically relevant. I think it’s media relevant.”

Rep. Jim McGovern, another Massachusetts Democrat, said he found Kennedy’s views “troubling” but dismissed the idea that his campaign could damage his family’s legacy.

“The Kennedys have done so much good for this country and for the world… Their name is solid and the people are held in high esteem [for] her,” McGovern said.

“He is RFK. The legacy will survive,” Senator Peter Welch (D-Vermont) shrugged.

Arthur Delaney contributed reporting.

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