In a Republican-led congressional hearing Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argued he has been wrongly censored, as congressional Democrats warned of giving a dangerous platform to the vaccine skeptic.
"I am being censored here through this target, through smears, through misinterpretations, through lies, through association," said Kennedy.
Kennedy’s appearance came shortly after he was caught on tape claiming, without evidence, that COVID-19 was ethnically targeted to spare Jewish and Chinese people — words he said were taken out of context.
"In my entire life I have never uttered a phrase that was racist or antisemitic," he said.
The long-shot Democratic candidate for president has resonated with some Republicans interested in his accusations against big tech companies and his history of vaccine skepticism.
Kennedy argued that his non-profit, Children’s Health Defense, was wrongly censored by Facebook and Instagram for publishing what he claimed was legitimate data questioning the safety of vaccines.
But Democrats called Kennedy’s credibility into question, saying there are limits to free speech and noting he doesn’t have an accredited medical background.
Republicans say opponents are trying to delegitimize Kennedy who has long been critical of vaccines.
"They do not want him to speak, yet that is the topic of this hearing. They have kept him from speaking," said Rep. Thomas Massie.
The sub-committee, which was formed after Republicans narrowly took control of the house in January, seeks to publicize purported abuses by the federal government — claims Democrats say are unfounded.
"We are creating a platform for these, for this kind of discussion. Not about the censorship, not about free speech, but the content of some of that speech that we are amplifying in this room," said Rep. Stacey Plaskett.
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