WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. defended his comments where he touted a false Covid-19 conspiracy theory while testifying at a House subcommittee on Thursday.
The Story: Kennedy testified at the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on alleged government “weaponization” after being called by Chairman Jim Jordan.
- Kennedy was recorded last week citing a false conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was “targeted to” certain ethnicities while Chinese people and Jews of European descent were not sick with the virus.
- Thursday saw the 69-year-old deny he is racist or anti-semitic, even denying the comments altogether.
- “I’m subjected to this new form of censorship, which is called targeted propaganda, Kennedy said.
- “There is an argument that it is ethnically targeted,” specifically against Caucasian and Black people, Kennedy can be heard saying in the video.
Going deeper: Democrats argued Thursday that Republicans used Kennedy to prop up conspiracy theories and misinformation.
- “They intentionally chose to elevate this rhetoric to give these harmful, dangerous views a platform in the halls of the United States Congress,” U.S. Virgin Islands Del. Stacey Plaskett (D) said.
- “It’s a free country. You absolutely have a right to say what you believe,” she added. “But you don’t have the right to a platform, public or private.”
- Meanwhile, Kennedy claimed that other Democrats were seeking to silence him based on his views.
- “This itself is evidence of the problem that this hearing was convened to address. This is an attempt to censor a censorship hearing,” he said.
Why it matters: Kennedy is currently running a long-shot campaign to defeat President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination.
- A new report shows Kennedy polling at just 9 percent among Democrats in New Hampshire while Biden is over 75 percent.
- Kennedy’s recent remarks regarding Covid-19 and race are unlikely to sway what small support he has.