On July 20, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. testified before the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. The hearing took place two days after former president Donald Trump announced that he had received a “target letter” from special counsel Jack Smith. Trump said he expected to be indicted on criminal charges related to the attempted overthrow of the 2020 presidential election, which culminated in the attack on Congress by a fascist mob summoned by Trump on January 6, 2021.
In the face of an unprecedented and rapidly escalating political crisis of the entire US political system in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, the bulk of the Republican Party and the entire leadership of the House Republican conference have lined up behind Trump, portraying the fascist would-be dictator as the victim of a Democratic-led government witch-hunt.
Two days before Trump revealed the special counsel’s target letter, the New York Post published on its website a two-minute video showing RFK Jr. telling associates at an upscale Manhattan restaurant that Jews and Chinese people are less susceptible to the virus that is the cause of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and that this may be the result of deliberate genetic engineering. This version of the infamous “blood libel” against the Jews was the latest iteration of RFK Jr.’s combination of anti-vaccination propaganda, anti-China anti-communism and anti-Semitism that has characterized his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination from the outset.
Following the exposure of this fascistic outburst, which was roundly condemned by other members of the Kennedy family and led to a further drop in RFK Jr.’s poll numbers, the House Republican leadership openly embraced him. In return, he eagerly and no less openly placed himself at their disposal in seeking to deflect attention from Trump’s crimes and portray both the ex-president and himself as victims of a “deep state” conspiracy.
The Judiciary Committee is headed by top Trump attack dog Jim Jordan of Ohio, who was one of 147 House Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election. Under the leadership of Jordan, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which he set up, has held hearings advancing the false narrative that conservatives and Trump supporters are being unfairly targeted by the various federal police and intelligence agencies.
At the outset of the last week’s hearing, Jordan took time to introduce “a good friend of mine,” former Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat, who is currently serving as Kennedy’s campaign manager. Over the last year, Kucinich has worked with right-wing elements, including the increasingly fascistic Libertarian Party, to forge “left-right” unity against the “corporate duopoly.” Speaking to a smiling Kucinich, Jordan said, “We appreciate your service to the 1st Amendment.”
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., testifies before a House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 20, 2023. [AP Photo/Patrick Semansky]
In his nearly three hours of testimony, Kennedy Jr. never refuted claims by Republican politicians that Trump or his allies were unfairly “censored” or “targeted” by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or social media companies, including after Trump’s failed coup. Instead, Kennedy claimed that he, more so than Trump, was the target of a censorship campaign, aimed at destroying his credibility and hampering his bid to become president.
That Kennedy Jr. was even allowed to testify on Capitol Hill to a worldwide audience less than a week after being exposed for advancing a fascistic and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about COVID-19 demonstrates the absurdity of the claim that he is being censored. The fact that the Republicans courted him and used the hearing to provide him with a platform expresses the degree to which anti-Semitism and anti-Asian racism are increasingly accepted and promoted within the ruling class.
What the World Socialist Web Site termed Kennedy’s “Wuhan lab libel” is being put forward by the Republicans, and to a lesser degree by the Democrats, as a casus belli to prosecute imperialist war against China. Since advancing his anti-Semitic “blood libel” narrative, Kennedy, who was already a leader in vaccine disinformation, has been welcomed by Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media landscape.
While the hearing was ostensibly called to discuss the US government’s role in censoring “free speech,” the names Julian Assange and Edward Snowden were not mentioned once by any of the witnesses or lawmakers.
Instead, a majority of the hearing was focused on the alleged “censorship” of Kennedy’s anti-Semitic and anti-vaccine politics by the various government agencies working in conjunction with social media companies and the White House during both the Trump and Biden administrations.
Turning reality on its head, Kennedy and the Republicans complained that government agencies and social media companies were deliberately suppressing right-wing viewpoints, and that any exposure of Kennedy’s homicidal anti-vaccine positions and fascistic conspiracy theories was a form of “censorship.”
As a matter of fact, government and social media censorship has overwhelmingly been directed against left-wing and anti-imperialist media outlets. The World Socialist Web Site, along with a number of left-wing and independent journalists and commentators, has been censored for years by the major tech companies, including Google, at the request of the US government, for exposing ruling class lies.
At the hearing, Kennedy Jr., after being sworn in, perjured himself within five minutes, stating, “I have never been anti-vaccine.” He added, “And while I am under oath, in my entire life I have never uttered a phrase that was either racist or anti-Semitic.”
Putting aside Kennedy Jr.’s lie that COVID-19 appears to have been engineered to spare “Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese,” he has repeatedly advanced racist conceptions that Black people are more susceptible to “vaccine injuries” and “autism.”
Kennedy Jr. has also maintained a long-time relationship with the notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. A June 2015 tweet by Farrakhan featuring the pair promoting one of Kennedy’s books was captioned by Farrakhan, “Robert Kennedy Jr. met with me about a vaccine that is designed to affect Black males…”
Six years later, in June 2021, Kennedy Jr.’s film Medical Racism: The New Apartheid was screened at a Nation of Islam conference. After showing the film, Farrakhan told his audience, “I thank Mr. Kennedy for such a brilliant documentary.” Farrakhan implored his audience, “You need to follow Robert Kennedy.”
At last week’s hearing, Kennedy was given multiple opportunities by the Republicans on the committee to advance his anti-vaccine views and claim that he was being unfairly censored by social media companies working at the behest of the Biden White House.
Democrats on the committee accused Kennedy of advancing anti-Semitic and anti-science conceptions, without actually calling him an anti-Semite or a fascist. In this way, the Democrats are treating Kennedy Jr. in the same feckless manner they treat Trump. The Democrats’ central concern is advancing the war against Russia, and toward that end joining with their “Republican colleagues” to arm neo-Nazi forces such as the Azov Battalion.
At home, their central concern is the growth of the class struggle. They seek to maintain relations with the Republican Party in order to strengthen the repressive response of the capitalist state to any challenge from below to corporate wealth and profits.
Following the hearing, the supposedly “censored” Kennedy was welcomed onto the internet news program “The Hill Rising.” That program is owned by the Nexstar Media Group, which, according to Wikipedia, is “the largest television station owner in the United States.” Last month, Nexstar-owned NewsNation hosted Kennedy at a town hall that lasted nearly 90 minutes. The town hall has been viewed on YouTube over 1.1 million times.
After appearing on “The Hill Rising,” Kennedy Jr. was one of several fascists to appear on Maria Bartiromo’s Sunday morning Fox News program, “Sunday Morning Futures.” Prior to interviewing Kennedy, Bartiromo welcomed Jim Jordan and aired a pre-taped interview with Donald Trump. In his interview with Bartiromo, Kennedy reiterated his claim that he was being censored, saying, “I have been slammed in a way that is unprecedented, more so than Trump.”
Backing the Republican campaign to impeach Joe Biden over his connections to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, Kennedy agreed with Bartiromo that the Department of Justice needed to conduct a “real investigation of what happened.”
“I mean, these revelations… where you have Burisma, which is this notoriously corrupt company that paid out apparently $10 million to Hunter and his dad. If that’s true, then it is really troubling. So I think… it needs to be investigated,” he said.
On Tuesday, Kennedy will be appearing on a prime time Fox News town hall with Republican operative and long-time right-wing commentator Sean Hannity.