Robert F. Kennedy Jr. called all of his friends together and opened his mouth. It’s helpful to assemble a gang of like-minded people to encourage everyone to say exactly what they think without reservation, and oh boy, the stupidity flowed like water. Here are Kennedy’s colleagues: frauds, quacks, and morons, every one.
The panelists Kennedy included were, by anyone’s standards, heavy hitters in the world of anti-vaccine activism and health freedom (a movement which advocates for non-traditional cures and fewer regulations in medicine). They included Dr. Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician and an extremely influential natural health figure who’s also a major funder of the anti-vaccine movement; Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, another osteopath and a longtime anti-vaccine activist best known for going viral when she falsely claimed COVID vaccines make one “magnetic”; Dr. Pierre Kory, a major promoter of ivermectin as an unproven and highly contested treatment for COVID; Sayer Ji, another major health freedom figure who often traffics in anti-vaccine claims on his site GreenMedInfo; Mikki Willis, the maker of the viral faux documentary Plandemic; Maureen McDonnell, a pediatric nurse turned anti-vaccine activist; and Patrick Gentempo, a former chiropractor and health freedom figure. The moderator was Charles Eisenstein, an author and lightly New Age-flavored motivational speaker who said he’s paused his career and is “working closely with Kennedy on policy,” while the ending remarks were delivered by anti-vaccine activist and filmmaker Del Bigtree.
Even when the panelists disagreed, it was for stupid reasons and both sides got everything wrong.
There was one notable point of semi-disagreement: Mikki Willis of Plandemic fame asked Kennedy if he believed the “climate change narrative has been exaggerated,” a loaded question for someone best known for many years as an environmental lawyer and activist. Kennedy responded that he believes climate change is real, but that he does not believe “carbon” is to blame. He added that climate science is not his strong suit.
“With vaccine science I know the science,” he added, citing his experience litigating those cases. “I know the science back and forward. Climate science is so complex and knows so many disciplines” that he’s not as strong on it, he added, especially because it requires “mathematical modeling” and “chemistry.” That said, he added, “I think the climate narrative has been hijacked by the World Economic Forum and Bill Gates” and, like other crises, is being used by “elites to consolidate their power.” (Kennedy is a celebrity and part of the Democratic Party’s most durably powerful political family, the nephew of a former president and the son of a U.S. senator.)
Keep that claim that he knows the science back and forward in mind when you read the rest. Does he? Does he really?
During the discussion, Kennedy made several unfounded claims regarding the origins of infectious diseases and their relationships to vaccines. At one point, he baselessly asserted that vaccine research had been responsible for the creation of some of the deadliest diseases in human history, including HIV, the Spanish flu, and Lyme disease.
“I will end all gain-of-function research [as president],” Kennedy said. “It’s just a disaster, it’s given us no benefits. It’s given us everything from Lyme disease to Covid, and many many other diseases. RSV, which is now one of the biggest killers of children, came out of a vaccine lab.”
“We can go down the whole list of diseases,” he added. “There’s even good evidence that even Spanish flu came from vaccine research.”
Kennedy then claimed that “the medical research on these diseases and vaccine research has actually created some of the worst plagues in our history. Anybody who reads The River will come away pretty much convinced that HIV also came from a vaccine program, there’s plenty of evidence on that as well.”
Kennedy has previously claimed, without evidence, that AIDS was not caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) but “a gay lifestyle” and the use of alkyl nitrites, or poppers. His 2021 book The Real Anthony Fauci included similar AIDS denialism — including the falsehood that the disease is not caused by HIV — views that he repeated this month on Joe Rogan’s podcast, which commands an audience of millions.
He is basically claiming that every disease ever is the product of mad scientist-style experimentation. He forgot polio, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, smallpox, cholera, rabies, pertussis, leprosy, measles, and the Black Death. Those 14th century epidemiologists were incredibly sophisticated, being able to cobble up a plague that killed a few hundred million people without even any knowledge of germ theory is impressive. It’s unclear why physicians throughout history have been interested in killing people slowly and agonizingly; it probably has something to do with kickbacks from Big Pharma, the Illuminati, and the Fuggers. Oh, and the Pope, and probably the Jews, the usual scapegoats.
Oh yeah, he definitely knows the science backwards. Forwards, not so much.
He’s also not particularly sharp about history, or he wouldn’t make this claim:
“I do not believe that infectious disease is an enormous threat to human health,” Kennedy added. The presidential hopeful stated that if he assumed office, he would target medical journals and redirect funding grants away from epidemiology.
That could be true, if he ignores climate change — everyone will die of the heat, or of starvation, or drown in floods, or get killed by storms, before they have an opportunity to die of infectious disease. Nah, I take that back — climate disasters will probably kill more people with cholera after the storm/flood/heat wave ends.
Clever move, though, planning to end all the research that would show that Kennedy is an asshat. Maybe even more people will die of ignorance before the viruses and bacteria get them.