Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Says Biden Is a Greater Threat to Democracy Than Trump

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argued this Monday that President Joe Biden is a greater threat to democracy than former President Donald Trump.

His argument on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” program focused on the blocking on social media platforms during the Biden administration, which he described as an effort to “censor political speech” and undermine the First Amendment.

“I can argue that President Biden is the worst threat to democracy, and the reason is that President Biden is the first candidate in history, the first president in history who has used federal agencies to censor political speech, to censor his opponent,” he said.

Kennedy pointed to his withdrawal from social media platforms, which he attributes to pressures from the Biden administration, as proof of the president’s efforts to censor political speech.

Kennedy’s Instagram account was suspended in 2021 “for repeatedly sharing discredited claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” but was reinstated last year shortly after he announced his presidential campaign. Meta, the parent company of Instagram, cited his White House bid as the reason for restoring Kennedy’s account in a statement.

In December, the Supreme Court prevented Kennedy from joining a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana regarding the Biden administration’s communications with social media companies about posts the government considers misinformation. Kennedy has a similar case pending in a lower court.

Kennedy, who has made freedom of speech a central theme of his campaign, testified last year before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the militarization of the federal government. Kennedy was invited by House Republicans to speak as part of their investigation into alleged censorship against conservatives on social media companies.

He said that although he believes neither Biden nor Trump are fit to be re-elected in November, he does not believe the rhetoric suggesting either candidate “would destroy democracy.”

He added that if he had to rate one as a greater threat to democracy than the other, he would choose Biden because he believes the president has been “arming federal agencies” against his opponents.

The independent candidate acknowledged that Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election “is clearly a threat to democracy,” but maintained his belief that Biden is the greater threat.

“I think it’s a threat to democracy, (Trump) overthrowing; trying to overthrow the elections is clearly a threat to democracy,” Kennedy said. “But the question was, who is a worse threat to democracy? And what I would say is… I’m not going to answer that question. But I could argue that President Biden is because the First Amendment, Erin, is the most important.”

“I’m not going to defend President Trump on that, and it was atrocious. And there are many things that President Trump has done that are appalling,” he added.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) responded to Kennedy by saying in a statement that “there is no comparison” between Biden and Trump.

“With a straight face, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said that Joe Biden is a greater threat to democracy than Donald Trump because he was banned from spreading conspiracy theories online,” said DNC senior advisor Mary Beth Cahill in a statement. “There is no comparison to summoning a mob to the Capitol and promising to be a dictator on the first day. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. laid to rest any doubt tonight that he is a spoiler candidate by pushing his MAGA talking points in prime time.”

In the interview, Kennedy downplayed the potential risks of questioning the integrity of the elections, as he has done in previous presidential elections, but said he believes it is important that voters who believe the election was stolen are not persecuted for their belief.

“People who say the elections were stolen… we shouldn’t make pariahs out of those people. We shouldn’t demonize them. We shouldn’t vilify them. What we should do is say: let’s all come together, Republicans and Democrats, and fix the electoral system,” he said.

Kennedy said during the interview that he believes the 2000 presidential elections were “stolen,” and cited a Rolling Stone article he wrote in 2006 questioning whether the 2004 presidential elections had been stolen.

The 70-year-old candidate initially launched his presidential campaign as a Democrat to challenge Biden in last year’s primaries before switching to run as an independent in October. Last month, he announced 38-year-old attorney Nicole Shanahan as his vice-presidential candidate at a campaign event in Oakland, California.

He has never held public office but has inspired a small contingent of supporters drawn to his stance against public health mandates and the influence of money on decisions made by the government and private companies. Kennedy has tried to distance himself from his previous anti-vaccine rhetoric since launching his campaign last year, but continues to attack COVID-19 vaccination mandates and lockdowns from the pandemic era at campaign events.

The son of former Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former Democratic President John F. Kennedy, Kennedy Jr. regularly uses his family’s legacy to reinforce his campaign message, but several family members have criticized him for challenging Biden.

Kennedy described Biden as “a friend of mine and my family for 40 years,” but said he is not concerned about running for president without his family’s support, adding that he feels “loved by them” despite their political differences.

Kennedy’s comments come after members of his extended family, including some of his siblings, celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at the White House last month and shared their support for Biden in a social media post. Biden responded to a message from Kennedy’s sister, Kerry Kennedy: “From one proud Irish family to another: it has been a pleasure to have you all back at the White House.”

And in an interview on CNN last week, Kennedy’s sister, Rory Kennedy, said she is concerned that he might undermine Biden’s chances of defeating Trump.

Kennedy told Burnett this Monday that he grew up regularly disagreeing with family members and that he still loves the family members who support Biden for president.

“I have a big family, about 105 cousins the last time we counted,” said Kennedy. “I have a big family. I don’t know anyone in America who has a family that agrees on everything.”

“I come from a family, from an environment where we would come home at night, and we would have dinner with my father and he would orchestrate debates among us, and we were the same way his father did with him. And we could disagree on issues, and we could disagree passionately and informatively, but we still loved each other. And I love Rory. I love my family. I feel loved by them.”

Kennedy also noted that some family members support his campaign, including his daughter-in-law Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, his campaign director, and his first cousin Anthony Shriver, whom he said also works for his campaign.

Kennedy also downplayed concerns about playing the role of a spoiler, arguing that he believes neither Biden nor Trump will advance the political goals he wants to prioritize, such as the national debt and reducing the U.S. defense budget.

“I don’t believe that either President Trump or President Biden are going to solve the debt crisis in this country, which is existential. I don’t believe either of them is going to get us out of foreign wars, this addiction we have to eternal wars,” he said.

“For me, the opportunity to really change the nature of governance in this country, to restore democracy, to restore the moral authority of our nation abroad, to give us a foreign policy that is not based on war or projecting military power abroad, but on projecting economic power and moral strength. The possibilities of that happening are too great and important for me to give up this fight,” he added.

Source: CNN Español