Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. challenges Biden for president in 2024

Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an anti-vaccine activist and scion of one of the nation’s most famous political families, is running for president.

Kennedy filed a nomination paper Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.

The 69-year-old’s campaign to challenge incumbent President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination is a long one. Self Help Author Marianne Williamson is also running in the Democratic race.

Kennedy, a nephew of President John F. Kennedy and the son of his slain brother Robert F. Kennedy, was once a bestselling author and environmental lawyer who worked on issues such as clean water.

But more than 15 years ago he became obsessed with the belief that vaccines weren’t safe. He has become one of the leading voices of the anti-vaccine movement, and his work has been described by public health experts and even members of his own family as misleading and dangerous.

Kennedy had long been involved in the anti-vaccine movement, but the effort intensified after the COVID-19 pandemic and the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.

His anti-vaccine charity, Children’s Health Defense, has thrived during the pandemic, with revenue more than doubling in 2020 to $6.8 million, filings with charity regulators show. .

His organization has targeted false claims at groups who may be more likely to be wary of the vaccine, including mothers and black Americans, experts said, which could have resulted in deaths during the pandemic.

Kennedy published a book in 2021, ‘The Real Anthony Fauci’, in which he accuses America’s top infectious disease doctor of participating in ‘a historic coup against Western democracy’ and promotes COVID treatments. -19 unproven such as ivermectin, which is intended to treat parasites and hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug.

Former Trump adviser steve bannon had encouraged Kennedy to run for months, thinking he could be both a useful agent of chaos in the 2024 race and a big name who could help stoke anti-vaccine sentiment across the country, told Robert Costa of CBS News sources familiar with the matter.

His push against the COVID-19 vaccine has at times linked him to anti-democratic figures and groups. Kennedy appeared at events pushing the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and with people who cheered or downplayed the insurrection at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.

A photo posted to Instagram shows Kennedy backstage at a Reawaken America event in July 2021 with former President Donald Trump’s former ally Roger Stone, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and anti-money profiteer. Charlene Bollinger vaccine. All three promoted the 2020 election theft lie. The photo was posted but later deleted by Bollinger, who appeared with Kennedy at several events.

Kennedy repeatedly invoked the Nazis and the Holocaust when speaking about measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, such as mask requirements and vaccination mandates. He has sometimes apologized for those comments, including when he suggested people in 2022 had it worse than Anne Frank, the teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp after hiding with her family in a secret annex. of a house in Amsterdam for two years.

Kennedy has occasionally invoked his family’s legacy in his anti-vaccine work, including occasionally using images of the late President Kennedy.

Her sister Kerry Kennedy, who runs Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the international rights group founded by their mother, Ethel, said her brother sometimes deleted some of the content at her request.

She told The Associated Press in a 2021 interview that her brother was “completely wrong on this matter and was very dangerous.”

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