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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says Biden is a bigger threat to democracy than Trump

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

Her argument on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Outfront” focused on the blocking of social media platforms during the Biden administration, which she called “censorship of political speech” and an attempt to undermine the First Amendment.

“I would argue that President Biden is the worst threat to democracy, and that’s because President Biden is the first candidate in history, the first president in history to use federal agencies to censor political speech, to slander his opponent. ” said.

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

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

In December, the Supreme Court blocked Kennedy from joining a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana alleging false information to the government about the Biden administration’s communications with social media companies. Kennedy has a similar case pending in a lower court.

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

He said that while he believes both Biden and Trump are unfit for re-election in November, he does not believe the rhetoric suggested by either candidate will “destroy democracy.”

Robert F.  Kennedy Jr

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 is “weaponizing 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 biggest threat.

“I think it’s a threat to democracy, to overturn (Trump); to try to overturn an election is clearly a threat to democracy,” Kennedy said. “But the question was who is the worse threat to democracy? And what I would say… I’m not going to answer that question. But I would 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 that was disgusting. And President Trump has done a lot of things that are horrible,” he added.

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

“With a straight face, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Joe Biden is a greater threat to democracy than Donald Trump because he was banned from spreading conspiracy theories online,” DNC senior counsel Mary Beth Cahill said in a release. “There’s no comparison to calling the mob to the Capitol and promising to be a dictator on day one. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. dispelled any doubt that he was a killjoy candidate tonight by pushing his MAGA talking points to a prime-time audience.”

In the interview, Kennedy downplayed the potential dangers of questioning the integrity of the election, as he had done in previous presidential elections, but said he believed it was important not to persecute voters who believe the election was rigged for their beliefs. does not come

“People who say the election was 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.”, said.

Kennedy stated during the interview that he believed the 2000 presidential election was “stolen,” citing a 2006 Rolling Stone article in which he questioned whether the 2004 presidential election was stolen.

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

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

Responding to Family Reproaches

Former Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy’s son and former Democratic president John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Kennedy Jr., regularly uses his family heritage to reinforce his campaign message, but some family members have criticized him for challenging Biden.

Kennedy called Biden “a 40-year friend of mine and my family” but said he was not worried about running for president without his family’s support, adding that he felt “loved by him” 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 social media posts. Biden responded to a message from Kennedy’s sister, Carrie Kennedy: “From one proud Irish family to another: Glad to have you all back in the White House.”

And in an interview on CNN last week, Kennedy’s sister, Rory Kennedy, said she worried it would undermine Biden’s chances of defeating Trump.

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

“I have a big family, about 105 cousins ​​the last time we counted,” Kennedy said. “I have a great family. I don’t know anyone in America whose family 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 have debates between us, and we would be the same way his father was with him. And we would be on issues. We can disagree, and we can disagree passionately and informatively, but we still love each other. And I love Rory. I love my family. I feel loved by them.”

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

Kennedy also played down concerns about playing spoilsport, arguing that he believed neither Biden nor Trump wanted to prioritize policy goals, such as addressing the national debt and reducing the US defense budget.

“I don’t think President Trump or President Biden are going to solve the debt crisis in this country, which exists. I don’t think either of them is going to get us out of foreign wars. We’re going to have wars with addiction.” Eternal,” he said.

“For me, this is an opportunity to really change the nature of governance in this country, to restore democracy, to restore our nation’s moral authority 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 power. “The chances of that happening are too big and important for me to leave this race,” he added.

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