Apr 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

RFK Jr. calls Biden bigger threat to democracy than Trump over deleted anti-vaccine posts

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at a Cesar Chavez Day event at Union Station on March 30, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at a Cesar Chavez Day event at Union Station on March 30 in Los Angeles, California.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reiterated his argument Tuesday that President Biden poses a greater threat to democracy than former President Trump.

Why it matters: Kennedy, a vocal opponent of vaccines, focused his argument on the Biden administration working with social media platforms to curb medical disinformation during the covid pandemic.

  • Kennedy was temporarily banned from Instagram during the pandemic for spreading medical misinformation.
  • "I can make the argument that President Biden is the much worse threat to democracy, and the reason for that is President Biden is the first candidate in history – the first president in history that has used the federal agencies to censor political speech, so to censor his opponent," Kennedy said Monday on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."

The other side: Kennedy's claim drew condemnation from the Democratic National Committee, which said that it highlighted their argument that Kennedy is a "spoiler candidate" and is "pushing his MAGA talking points."

  • "There is no comparison to summoning a mob to the Capitol and promising to be a dictator on day one," DNC Senior Advisor Mary Beth Cahill said in a statement.

Zoom in: Kennedy, who has made protecting freedom of speech central to his bid, said that Trump's efforts in 2020 to subvert election results is "clearly is a threat to democracy," but that Biden poses a great threat.

  • "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 can argue that President Biden is," he said.
  • Kennedy, who, like Trump, has previously falsely claimed that past elections were stolen, reiterated his argument on Fox News on Tuesday.

State of play: The Supreme Court last month signaled skepticism during oral arguments that the Biden administration overstepped in communicating with social media companies about COVID-19 and election misinformation content, Axios' Ashley Gold reported.

The big picture: Kennedy, who is polling better than any independent Presidential candidate since Ross Perot in 1992, has drawn concern from Democrats that he could siphon off votes from Biden in November.

  • The Democratic National Committee has launched an operation to counter Kennedy's third-party bid.
  • However, conservative media, which originally touted Kennedy's campaign, have recently backed off for fear he could siphon votes from Trump.

What they're saying: "With a straight face Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said that Joe Biden is a bigger threat to democracy than Donald Trump because he was barred from pushing conspiracy theories online," Cahill said in a statement.

  • "Robert F. Kennedy Jr. laid to rest tonight any doubts that he's a spoiler candidate by pushing his MAGA talking points in prime time."

Go deeper: RFK Jr. laps 2024 presidential field on TikTok

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