Several members of the Kennedy family have condemned a bigoted conspiracy theory by Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which suggested that the coronavirus was « ethnically targeted » to spare Jews and Chinese.
In comments at a recent event in New York City, a recording of which was first published by the New York Post, Mr. Kennedy said: “Covid-19 is aimed at attacking Caucasians and Blacks. The most immune people are the Ashkenazi Jews and the Chinese”. He added: « We don’t know whether it was deliberately targeted or not. »
His sister Kerry Kennedy called his remarks « lamentable and false » and said he did not represent the principles espoused by Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the organization he leads – named after his father, former Attorney General and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.
His brother Joseph Kennedy II made a similar statement, telling the Boston Globe: “Bobby’s comments are morally and factually wrong. They play on anti-Semitic myths and fuel distrust of the Chinese. His remarks in no way reflect the words and actions of our father, Robert F. Kennedy.
And former Representative Joseph Kennedy III he wrote on Twitter Monday afternoon: “My uncle’s comments were hurtful and wrong. I unequivocally condemn what he said ”.
Mr. Kennedy dismissed criticism of his comments on Sunday, saying: a long post on Twitter, « The insinuation by @nypost et al that, as a result of my citing a peer-reviewed article on bioweapons, I am anti-Semitic in any way, is a disgusting fabrication. » (The document he referred to did not support the claims he made.)
It wasn’t the first time that Mr. Kennedy’s relatives have felt compelled to renege on his words or actions.
Once an environmental lawyer known for his work cleaning up the Hudson River, Mr. Kennedy — now a long-term candidate running against President Biden for next year’s Democratic nomination — has become a leading purveyor of vaccine disinformation. . Long before the coronavirus pandemic, he helped popularize false claims of a connection between childhood vaccines and autism, and ever since Covid vaccines became available, he has loudly and frequently sought to question their well-being. documented safety.
Last year, Mr. Kennedy suggested that unvaccinated Americans would soon be more persecuted than Anne Frank, who was murdered by the Nazis. Several of her siblings criticized him for that comment, as did his wife, actress Cheryl Hines, who called it « reprehensible and insensitive. »
He has advanced many other conspiracy theories as well, including claims that there is a link between antidepressants and mass shootings (there isn’t) and that Republicans stole the 2004 presidential election (they didn’t).
Despite his promotion of disinformation and some political views more aligned with the Republican base than the Democrat, Kennedy is voting relatively strongly: between 10 and 20 percent in several polls, nowhere near enough to top Biden, but still surprising numbers against an incumbent.