April 20, 2024

Democrats urge Republicans to rescind RFK Jr.’s invitation to testify

Democratic Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Dan Goldman and Judy Chu are expected to send a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Chief Justice Jim Jordan, urging them to rescind an invitation to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to testify Thursday before the House Select Subcommittee on Federal Government ArmsA source with knowledge of the matter confirms to CBS News.

The request comes after the Democratic presidential candidate over the weekend made false claims that COVID-19 was “ethnically targeted” to attack certain ethnic groups while sparing Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people, a conspiracy theory a prompted accusations of anti-Semitism and racism. Kennedy is still scheduled to testify before a House panel Thursday about social media companies clamping down on his anti-vaccination rhetoric.

“Mr. Kennedy has spread repeatedly and recently vile and dangerous antisemitic and anti-Asian conspiracy theories that destroy his credibility as a witness and must be legitimized by his appearance before the Congress of the United States, nor brought to the scene of an official committee hearing to disseminate his baseless and discriminatory comments,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote.

“Mr. Kennedy is using a terrible form of anti-Semitism that has been used for centuries,” his letter continues. “Hitler used this technique when claiming that there are biological differences between ethnic or racial groups to portray Jews as a lesser form of humanity, a step to justify the extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust.”

McCarthy said Monday that he doesn’t agree with everything Kennedy said, but when asked if he should testify, the Speaker replied, “I don’t think censoring someone is really the answer here.”

Wasserman Schultz retorted that no one is censoring Kennedy, but that giving him a platform is “irresponsible.”

“Mr. Kennedy can say anything he wants, and he certainly has,” Schultz said. “No one is censoring him. The issue is that Republicans should give him one of the biggest platforms in the world by allowing him to share dangerous misinformation and disinformation before Congress. It’s irresponsible, especially given the what he is saying is harmless and inaccurate and the violence perpetrated by Jews. and the Asians are facing this country as a result of the hatred directed at their communities.”

Kennedy, a nephew of President John F. Kennedy, has gained a reputation as an outspoken voice of the anti-vaccination movement, and as a conspiracy theorist. That was long before he decided to run against President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. The Kennedy family itself did not disclose his latest comments.

“I strongly condemn my brother’s false and false statements last week about engineering Covid to focus on ethnic targeting,” his sister, Kerry Kennedy, posted to Twitter.

“My uncle’s comments were hurtful and wrong. I clearly condemn what he said,” Joe Kennedy III wrote.

Thursday’s hearing focuses on censorship. Other witnesses include Louisiana Special Assistant Attorney General D. John Sauer and a journalist at Breitbart News.

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