Robert F. Kennedy Jr., along with Musk, push right-wing ideas and misinformation

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the scion of one of the country’s most prominent Democratic families, on Monday found himself in the arms of conservative figures eager to advance his longtime primary challenge to President Biden.

For more than two hours, Mr. Kennedy took part on Twitter with Elon Musk, the increasingly right-leaning CEO of the online audio chat platform. They befriended the likes of Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic congresswoman turned right-wing commentator; major donor to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; and a professional surfer who became a prominent voice questioning coronavirus vaccines.

Mr. Kennedy, who announced his 2024 presidential campaign in April, is a leading vaccine skeptic and has promoted other conspiracy theories. However, he has consistently maintained 20 percent in Democratic primaries, which the party has otherwise conceded to Mr. Biden.

On Monday, he seemed much more relaxed as a candidate in the mushrooming Republican presidential race.

He said he plans to travel to the Mexican border this week to “try to create a policy that will permanently close the border,” called on the federal government to look at the war in Ukraine from the Russians’ point of view, and said pharmaceutical drugs are responsible. Increase in mass shootings in America.

“Before Prozac was introduced, we had almost none of these events in our country, and we’ve never seen them in human history, where people walk into a school room of children or strangers and start shooting people,” Mr. Kennedy said. who stated that his father and uncle were killed by gunfire.

Mr. Kennedy said he now has “about 50 people” working for his campaign. Unlike Marianne Williamson, Mr. Biden’s other Democratic challenger, she does not appear to be aiming to appeal to Democrats who are ideologically opposed to the moderate president or otherwise unwilling to run for him again. Instead, he has used his campaign platform and his famous name to promote misinformation and ideas that have little appeal in his own party.

Asked by DeSantis’ top donor David Sachs, who is also close to Mr. Musk, “what’s wrong with the Democratic Party,” Mr. Kennedy spent nine minutes relentlessly attacking Mr. Biden as a warmonger and insisting that his party under the control of the pharmaceutical industry.

“I think the Democratic Party has become the party of war,” Mr. Kennedy said. “I attribute that directly to President Biden.” He added: “He has always been in favor of a very belligerent, aggressive and aggressive foreign policy, and he believes that violence is a legitimate political tool to achieve US goals abroad.”

The Democratic National Committee and Mr. Biden’s campaign declined to comment on Mr. Kennedy.

The event, which had more than 60,000 listeners at its peak, according to Twitter, at times felt like Mr. Kennedy was interviewing Mr. Musk about his leadership of Twitter, a platform that has lost more than half of its advertising revenue since 2018. . the billionaire acquired it in October. For more than 30 minutes at the start of the event, the presidential candidate questioned the tech mogul about releasing the so-called Twitter files, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.

“These are really interesting topics for people, but I think a lot of the public would like to hear about your presidential run,” Mr. Musk told Mr. Kennedy.

Mr. Kennedy, 69, is a longtime booster and spreader of baseless theories that began nearly two decades ago with the results of the 2004 presidential election, as well as his skepticism about routine childhood vaccines. His audience for such misinformation ballooned during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, Mr. Kennedy repeated a series of false statements, including:

  • He said that after the Affordable Care Act of 2010, “Democrats got more money from pharma than Republicans.” A STAT News analysis found that political action committees with ties to pharmaceutical companies have given more money to Republicans than to Democrats in 14 of the 16 election years since 1990.

  • He claimed without evidence that “Covid was clearly a bioweapon issue.” US intelligence agencies do not believe there is any evidence to suggest this.

  • And as he blamed the use of psychiatric drugs for the rise in gun violence in the United States, he claimed that the rate of gun ownership in the United States was similar to that of Switzerland. The United States had the highest civilian gun ownership in the world, with 120.5 firearms per 100 people, according to the Small Arms Survey. That was more than double the rate of the second-highest country, Yemen, at 52.8, and well above Switzerland’s rate of 27.6.

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