There’s nothing like a good old family feud, particularly when it involves one of the nation’s most prominent political clans.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a member of the Democratic Party’s royal family and current presidential hopeful, has stirred the pot with his recent remarks on COVID-19. During a press event in New York City last week, Kennedy made a claim that sent shockwaves through his family and the broader political landscape.
Kennedy proposed a theory that COVID-19 is a “genetically engineered bioweapon”, possibly designed to have a racial bias, stating it disproportionately impacts certain races while sparing others such as Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people.
The veteran politician further fanned the flames by suggesting that the Chinese are investing millions in the development of ethnic bioweapons and that the U.S. is also following suit. He cautioned that future bioweapons could cause infection fatality rates as high as 50%, making the COVID-19 pandemic seem like child’s play.
The response to Kennedy’s sensational claims has been swift and harsh, and not just from the general public. His own family members have vehemently distanced themselves from his statements.
Joe Kennedy III, a former Congressman and currently serving as the U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, took to Twitter to condemn his uncle’s assertions as both hurtful and incorrect. Similarly, Kerry Kennedy, RFK Jr.’s sister, decried her brother’s comments as deplorable and untrue, stating that they do not reflect the principles upheld by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization.
Even the Democratic National Committee stepped in to clarify that Kennedy’s opinions do not represent the party’s views, with DNC chairman Jaime Harrison expressing concern about the prospective candidate’s remarks.
Kennedy, in his defense, argues that his comments were misrepresented. He insists he never suggested the virus was specifically engineered to spare Jews. Instead, he noted that research indicates certain ethnicities seem to be more affected by COVID-19 than others. However, he denies implying that this difference in susceptibility was intentionally engineered.
These aren’t Kennedy’s first controversial remarks that have triggered backlash within his own family. Just last year, his wife, Cheryl Hines, criticized him for inappropriately invoking the Holocaust victim Anne Frank during a speech about vaccines. The tweet has since been removed.
Despite the series of contentious events, Kennedy’s presidential campaign seems to be weathering the storm. He has gained substantial attention since his campaign announcement, and despite his radical stance on vaccines and the origins of COVID-19, he is performing well in the polls. Some reports even suggest his favorability ratings exceed those of both President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the frontrunners of their respective parties. Kennedy remains non-committal about pledging his support to Biden if he emerges as the eventual nominee.
In a nutshell, it seems the Kennedy family feud is a tangible reflection of the increasingly polarized political climate. It’s a stark reminder that we should critically evaluate the information we consume, especially when it comes to significant public health issues like COVID-19. An emphasis on open dialogue and the pursuit of fact-based, scientific understanding should be at the heart of these discussions, rather than personal, unverified theories.