Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is currently under fire for spreading antisemitic and anti-Asian conspiracy theories about COVID-19, prompting the House Democrats’ campaign arm to call him out on his “racism and hate.”
Key details: At a press event at an Upper East Side restaurant in New York last week, Kennedy reportedly spoke about how COVID-19 “attacks certain races disproportionately,” according to the New York Post.
“COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese,” the Democratic presidential candidate reportedly said. “We don’t know whether it was deliberately targeted or not but there are papers out there that show the racial or ethnic differential and impact.”
What he was referring to: Kennedy was reportedly referring to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, which looked into the “genetic susceptibility of COVID-19.” One of the authors told CBS News that they do not support Kennedy’s claims, adding, “This type of misinterpretation will hurt academic research to help us end the pandemic.”
Condemning his actions: Rep. Suzan DelBene (D, WA-1) criticized Kennedy for his “reprehensible antisemitic and anti-Asian comments” that perpetuated “harmful and debunked racist tropes.”
“Such dangerous racism and hate have no place in America, demonstrate him to be unfit for public office, and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” DelBene declared.
What other people are saying: Rep. Ritchie Torres (D, NY-15) also slammed Kennedy in a tweet last week, saying that the Democrat lawyer has “no business being anywhere near the presidency.”
In a tweet posted over the weekend, Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison wrote that Kennedy’s “troubling comments” do not “represent the views of the Democratic Party.”
His defense: Responding to the controversy, Kennedy wrote in a tweet on Saturday that the New York Post was mistaken, adding, “I have never, ever suggested that the COVID-19 virus was targeted to spare Jews.”
Kennedy added that his claim “the furin cleave docking site is most compatible with Blacks and Caucasians and least compatible with ethnic Chinese, Finns, and Ashkenazi Jews” serves as “a kind of proof of concept for ethnically targeted bioweapons” that are allegedly being developed by the U.S. and other country governments.