A second Kennedy presidency? (John Lamparski/Getty Images)


May 3, 2023   22 mins

For decades, as a scion of the Kennedy family and environmental litigator, Robert F. Kennedy Junior was considered an establishment hero. In recent years, however, his rhetoric against Covid lockdowns and vaccines — culminating in him making a comparison with Anne Frank and the Holocaust at a vaccine mandate rally — sealed his reputation among most commentators as irresponsible and potentially dangerous. So, since he announced that he was running for president two weeks ago, challenging Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination, he has presented the establishment media with something of a conundrum. He is already polling at 20% — should he be ignored or interrogated? 

When Mr Kennedy agreed to speak to UnHerd, we thought we’d try something different: instead of re-rehearsing familiar arguments over vaccines, we thought we’d actually try to understand the way he thinks, and why he appeals to so many people. Does his curious basket of views — on the environment, Ukraine, corporate power, cultural issues — hang together? Below is an edited transcript.

 

Freddie Sayers: The issue of vaccines was notably absent from your campaign launch speech last week. Was this a deliberate effort to set the issue aside and appeal to mainstream Democrats?

Robert F. Kennedy: My approach is that, unless I’m talking to a group that specifically wants to talk about that issue, I would not lead with it. The issues that I want to lead with are those I talked about in my speech. If somebody asks me about vaccines, I’m going to tell them the truth. But I think for most Americans, it’s not on their top list of issues.

Freddie Sayers: It’s not going to be easy to set aside, as every interview will mention it. What would be your message to mainstream Democrats who might be interested in some of the things you’re saying, but have made up their mind about you based on the vaccines issue?

RFK Jr: I’m talking about issues that I think most Americans and probably most Democrats are concerned about: the systematic gutting of the middle class; the elevation of corporations — particularly polluting corporations; and, from the financial industry to the military-industrial complex, the corrupt merger of state and corporate power. Through wars, bank bailouts and lockdowns, we’ve been systematically hollowing out the American middle class, and printing money to make billionaires richer. During the Covid lockdown, there was a $4.4 trillion shift in wealth from the American middle class to this new oligarchy that we created — 500 new billionaires with the lockdowns, and the billionaires that we already had increased their wealth by 30%.

That’s just one of the assaults, and then you go to the bailout of the Silicon Valley Bank, and the war in Ukraine, which is costing us $113 billion; the war in Iraq and the wars that followed that have cost us $8 trillion. The total cost of the lockdowns was $16 trillion, and we got nothing for any of it. Is it any wonder that we don’t have a middle class left in the United States of America? Unless we rebuild the middle class, and rebuild our economy, our national security is going to fail, and our democracy is going to fail. 

FS: You’ve been using the word “corporatism” a lot in interviews — what do you mean by it?

RFK: It’s the domination of government, and particularly democratic governments, by corporate power. I’ve spent 40 years litigating against the agencies, the regulatory agencies in the United States, so I can tell you that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is effectively run by the oil industry, the coal industry and the pesticide industry. When I was on the trial team that brought the Monsanto cases, and we ended up with a $13 billion settlement after winning three trials, we uncovered that the head of the pesticide division at the EPA was secretly working for Monsanto, and was running that agency to promote the mercantile ambitions of that business rather than the public interest. He was killing studies, he was fixing studies, he was ghost-writing studies. And that’s true throughout the agencies.

If you look at the pharmaceutical industry in our country, it runs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA gets 50% of its budget from Big Pharma. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spends half of its budget purchasing vaccines from Big Pharma, and then distributing it. And the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is just an incubator for new pharmaceutical products. It doesn’t do the basic research that we want them to be doing — about where all these diseases come from. The studies that do get done are studies that develop pharmaceutical products. And then the NIH collects royalties when the pharma company sells those products. The regulator is essentially a partner with the regulated industry. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is run by the railroads in our country and by the airlines; the banks have utterly corrupted the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and the media has corrupted the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

FS: Are you alleging actual corruption within all these government agencies, or is it more of a general sense that there’s a revolving door between them and industry? 

RFK Jr: It’s both. There’s legalised bribery and illegal bribery. The rules governing conflicts of interest aren’t just ignored — they’re systematically ignored. And the rules started out not strong enough to really protect the public interest. You have both things going on — honest graft and dishonest graft.

FS: This sounds like a traditional Left-of-centre critique, but you’re now being described as Right-wing. Do you think the old distinctions between Left and Right are breaking down? 

RFK Jr: I consider myself a traditional Kennedy liberal. I don’t know of any values that my uncle John Kennedy harboured, or my father shared, that I don’t share. They had antipathy and suspicion towards war and the military-industrial complex; they did not want corporations running the American government; they were completely against censorship. They were against the use of fear as a governing tool, and they spoke out about it often. If you go down the list of things that they believed in, I don’t think there’s really any daylight between me and what they believed. 

But I do think that there is a growing coalition in this country of populist forces, on the Left and Right, that are convening now and finding common ground. And I think that really is probably the only thing that is going to rescue American democracy.

FS: So you’re overtly trying to get support from conservative voters?

RFK Jr: I always have been. I spent 35 years as — I don’t want to toot my own horn, but — arguably the leading environmentalist in the country. I was the only environmentalist who was going on Fox News constantly, on Sean Hannity, on Neil Cavuto, on Bill O’Reilly, on Tucker Carlson. People would say to me: “You’re legitimising those platforms by going on there.” And I said: “I’m not compromising my values.” When I go on there, I’m talking to their audiences. I want to speak to their audiences. How are we going to persuade people, how are we going to end polarisation, if we’re not talking to each other? I’ll go on any platform, and the only platforms I won’t go on are ones that my wife just can’t live with. If it was up to me, I would go on Steve Bannon and I would even go on Alex Jones, because I want to talk to those audiences.

I think there’s a rebellion happening in our country now — there’s a populist rebellion — and if we don’t capture that rebellion, for the forces of idealism and the forces of generosity and kindness, somebody else is going to hijack that rebellion for much darker purposes. I don’t think it’s a good idea to say we’re not going to talk to American populists because they’re deplorable. Americans are our brothers and sisters, and we need to listen to them. And their backs are against the wall because of policies that have come from both Republican and Democratic parties.

FS: One name you mentioned there is Tucker Carlson, who obviously lost his job last week. He is thought of as a Right-wing conservative, but seems to agree with you on a lot of things. What is your view of Tucker Carlson?

RFK Jr: There was nobody, during most of his career, who was more critical of Tucker Carlson than I was. But I think Tucker has evolved over the past three years into probably one of the leading populist voices in our country. He’s one of the only people on American television that’s talking about free speech. It’s extraordinary — when I was growing up, the people who were most militant, who were the First Amendment absolutists, were journalists. The average American journalist seems not the least bit concerned by government-orchestrated censorship. It’s very, very strange.

FS: It’s been speculated that you could run on a joint ticket with Tucker Carlson. Is there any scenario in which you would work together?

RFK Jr: I wouldn’t speculate about that. I can’t see Tucker Carlson running as a Democrat and I’m running as a Democrat.

FS: And if you don’t win the Democratic nomination, will you consider running as an independent?

RFK Jr: I intend to be successful. I don’t have a plan B.

FS: There are some areas where you seem to have a very different view to people like Tucker Carlson. On culture-war issues such as gender, do you think that the Democratic Party has become too “woke”?

RFK Jr: I’m not going to cast judgement on a generalised description of the Democratic Party. I feel like we should take a common-sense approach to these issues. I’m trying to figure out ways to emphasise the values that we have in common, rather than the issues that are tearing our country apart. So I don’t feel the need to take a position on every issue. If it’s an issue that I will have nothing to do with as president, then I’m very unlikely to take a position on it.

FS: Let me be specific then. The concept of “equity” is central to President Biden’s ideas about governance — the idea that minority groups, such as racial minorities, should be retrofitted into positions via quota rather than just through a normal meritocratic process. Do you agree with the principle of equity?

RFK Jr: I wouldn’t agree with the policy that you just described. My family has been deeply involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and I’ve been involved with environmental justice issues. My first case was representing the NAACP [The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]. In 2001, I spent the entire summer in a maximum security prison in Puerto Rico for civil disobedience that I did in conjunction with a case that I brought, defending the poorest black and Hispanic populations in America, arguably — the population of Vieques. I brought probably as many environmental justice cases during my career as anybody else, and I understand that there is institutional racism in our country. You see it in many police departments, although not all of them. Certainly not all police are racist, but it is a huge problem. Blacks in our country are living not only with the legacy of slavery, but the legacy of 100 years of Jim Crow, having their leaders systematically murdered — and then being redlined! In the 2008 collapse, it was black homeowners who were targeted first. We need to figure out ways to make sure that those communities are participating in the American experiment.

FS: The question is whether, as a “Kennedy liberal”, you believe the best way to address those inequalities is to try to improve equality of opportunity rather than selecting candidates by identity criteria. When, for example, the President announced that he was going to find an African-American female to fill the latest Supreme Court vacancy before having started the selection process, did that make you uncomfortable in that it wasn’t an open, meritocratic choice? Or did you feel that that is the right thing to do?

RFK Jr: I’m not going to second guess President Biden on that choice. I’ve sat for 20 years on the board of Bedford-Stuyvesant restoration, which was the first community development corporation in our country. I watched that bring capital and mentorship into one of the poorest black communities in this country. We saw a renaissance in Bedford-Stuyvesant because of that. Black Americans want to feel represented, and I think a black child ought to be able to look at our Cabinet and our courts and be able to see a possibility of positions that they can aspire to. But I also think that our real target needs to be getting capital into those communities, making homeownership more widespread in those communities, reducing crime, making healthcare available, and all of those things that will invite black Americans into the American experience.

FS: Let me ask you about climate and the environment, which is a lifelong issue for you. In the last few years, environmentalism seems to have shifted from being an anti-establishment position to an establishment, corporate-endorsed position. Do you think there is a good version of the green movement, and a corporate, Davos-style version of the movement? And how would you distinguish between them?

RFK: Yes, definitely that has happened. Climate has become more polarised than ever, and with good reason. The crisis has been, to some extent, co-opted — by Bill Gates and the World Economic Forum and the billionaire boys’ club in Davos — the same way that the Covid crisis was appropriated by them to make themselves richer, to impose totalitarian controls and to stratify our society, with very powerful and wealthy people at the top, and the vast majority of human beings with very little power and very little sovereignty over their own lives. Every crisis is an opportunity for those forces to clamp down controls.

And then you also see, with climate, there’s been a shift — from habitat preservation and regenerative farming to trying to reduce the power of the carbon industry — towards corporate carbon capture, which can be monetised by the corporations and exploited without seeing any real benefit on the ground. And also with geoengineering solutions, which I oppose. It tends to be that the people who are pushing them also have IP rights — in other words, patent rights in a lot of those technologies. There is definitely an optic of self-interest.

FS: We had an example here in Europe, with the farmers’ protests in the Netherlands. New environmental rules on use of nitrate fertilisers and other things came in and populist voters — frankly, the kind of voters who might be interested in you — were very angry about it, as it seemed to ignore ordinary people’s economic reality? Did you observe that?

RFK Jr: I fell on the side of the farmers in that debate because I saw what happened over the years, which is the increase in the power of this combination of corporate and government power, which colluded to get those farmers to switch over to heavily nitrate fertiliser-dependent and GMO farming. It was purposeful and systematic. Once you get all of those farmers to switch to hydrocarbon-based fertilisers and to monocultures, then you say: “Those things are bad and now we’re going to shut you all down.” It’s a bait and switch, a way of destroying small farmers.

If we want to have democracy, we need a broad ownership of our land by a wide variety of yeoman farmers, each with a stake in our system. That’s what Thomas Jefferson said. Wiping out the small farmers and giving control of food production to corporations is not in the interests of humanity. We need to help those farmers transition off the addiction that we imposed upon them in the first place.

FS: Similarly, to be anti-nuclear, as you’ve been for decades, has historically been an anti-establishment position. But now things have changed, as countries such as Germany have shut down their nuclear power and now find themselves vulnerable and dependent on Russian gas. Have your views evolved on nuclear?

RFK Jr : No. I’ve always said I’m all for nuclear if they can make it safe and if they can make it economic. Right now, it is literally the most expensive way to boil a pot of water that has ever been devised. We were told that nuke energy would be too cheap to metre, and actually it’s so expensive that no utility in the world will build a nuclear power plant without vast public subsidies from the taxpayer. In our country, we had to pass the Price-Anderson Act because nuclear is dangerous. It’s too dangerous for humanity — look at Fukushima. There is so much contaminated water that is pouring out and contaminating the entire Pacific Ocean; they’re finding radiation in fishes all over the ocean. And the only solution is for them to pump the water into these huge tanks, and then store it forever. If you look at the pictures of Fukushima now, there are these giant tanks that just go on as far as the eye can see. Look at Chernobyl.

You may say there’s new forms of nuke power that are safer, which I would say is not true. But don’t listen to me — listen to the insurance industry; ask them: “Would you ever insure one of these plants?” and they won’t. Until they can buy an insurance policy, they shouldn’t be saying it’s safe. In our country, they had to make a sleazy legislative manoeuvre in the middle of the night and pass the Price-Anderson Act which shifts the burden of their accidents onto the public. So it’s not hippies in tie-dyed T-shirts who are saying it’s dangerous; it’s guys on Wall Street with suits and ties. This is so dangerous that they can’t get an insurance policy and then they have to store the stuff at taxpayer expense for the next 30,000 years, which is five times the length of recorded human history. How can that ever be economic? If they had to internalise the cost, nobody would ever build one of these plants. To build a solar plant, a gigawatt of solar now costs about a billion dollars. To build a nuke plant, it’s between 9 and 16 billion for one gigawatt of the same thing


FS: In the European context, though, France has a lot of nuclear power and seems to be sitting quite pretty now, while Germany has had to restart its coal-fired plants.

RFK Jr: Well, my solution to that is stop making oil wars.

FS: That takes us to this pressing question: one thing you talk about a lot is that America is in a permanent state of war and you want to put an end to that. With regard to Ukraine, how do you propose to do that?

RFK Jr: Settle it. The Russians have repeatedly offered to settle. If you look at the Minsk accords, which the Russians offered to settle for, they look like a really good deal today. Let’s be honest: it’s a US war against Russia, to essentially sacrifice the flower of Ukrainian youth in an abattoir of death and destruction for the geopolitical ambition of the neocons, oft-stated, of regime change for Vladimir Putin and exhausting the Russian military so that they can’t fight anywhere else in the world. President Biden has said that was his intention — to get rid of Vladimir Putin. His Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, in April 2022, said that our purpose here is to exhaust the Russian army. What does that mean, “exhaust”? It means throwing Ukrainians at them. My son fought over there, side-by-side with the Ukrainians and we’ve sacrificed 300,000 of them. The commander of the special forces unit in the Ukraine, which is probably the most elite fighting force in Europe, has said 80% of his troops are dead or are wounded and they cannot rebuild the unit. Right now, the Russians are killing Ukrainians at a ratio of either 1:5 or 1:8, depending on what data you believe.

FS: If you became president you would inherit the situation as it is. Would your policy be to say that Russia can keep the territory it has conquered? You would be accused of surrendering.

RFK Jr: What I’m accused of is irrelevant to me, as you may have figured out by now. Let’s do what is sensible, what saves lives. This was supposed to be a humanitarian mission — that’s how they sold it to us in the United States. But that would imply that the purpose of the mission was to reduce bloodshed and to shorten the conflict, and every step that we’ve taken has been to enlarge the conflict and to maximise bloodshed. That’s not what we should be doing.

If you look at the Minsk accords, it sets the groundwork for a final settlement. The Donbas region, which is 80% ethnic Russian — and Russians that were being systematically killed by the Ukrainian government — would become autonomous within Ukraine and would be protected. Let’s protect those populations with a United Nations force or whatever we have to do to make sure the bloodshed stops. In addition to that, we need to remove our Aegis missile systems, which house the Tomahawk missiles — nuclear missiles — from 70 miles from the Russian border. When the Russians put nuclear missiles on Cuba, 1,500 miles from Washington DC, we were ready to invade them, and we would have invaded them if they hadn’t removed them. The way they got removed ultimately is: my uncle and father made a deal with Ambassador Brennan and Khrushchev, who they had a close relationship with and they could talk directly to at that point. The deal was: we will remove our Jupiter missiles from Turkey, on your border, because we know that’s intolerable to you. 

Russia has been invaded twice in the previous 100 years. One could see why they wouldn’t want nuclear missile systems in hostile countries on their border. We should also agree to keep Nato out of Ukraine, which is what the Russians have asked. I think based upon those three points, somebody like me could settle this war. I don’t think the neocons are capable of settling it, nor the people who surround President Biden — because they were the ones who created the problem. I don’t think they’ll ever recognise that. I think part of a settlement is to recognise that, with some of the history that went into this war, there were geopolitical machinations on both sides. And by the way, I am not excusing or justifying Vladimir Putin’s barbaric and illegal invasion of the Ukraine. But my uncle always said, if you want to actually achieve peace, you’ve got to put yourself in the other guy’s shoes and you’ve got to figure out the local pressures on him too.

FS: You mention the Cuban Missile Crisis and your uncle’s strategy: you could argue that’s an example of the opposite approach. He stared them down. He played chicken and he won, in a sense. He took a firm stand. And there are lots of people who feel that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is just such a moment and that somehow a stand needs to be taken and Putin can’t be rewarded for invading. What do you say to those people?

RFK Jr: You can argue the history of it. My uncle was surrounded by joint chiefs of staff, by an intelligence apparatus that was trying to get him to go to war. And the fact that there was one confrontation, where the Russian ship that was carrying supplies to Cuba stopped before it hit the embargo wall of US ships, that wasn’t the end of the crisis. That was just a midpoint, and it could have gone anywhere from there. The end of the crisis happened because my uncle reached out to Khrushchev directly, and said: “Let’s settle this between ourselves.” And their settlement was secret, and it remained secret for many years. But my uncle wanted to settle it, and he understood that he had to put himself in Khrushchev’s position and that Khrushchev didn’t want war, and neither did he, but they were both surrounded by people who did want to go to war.

FS: So what is the wise, equivalent action that the US president should have taken when Russian tanks started rolling across Ukrainian borders from three directions, headed for the capital? 

RFK Jr: We should have listened to Putin over many years. We made a commitment to Russia, to Gorbachev, that we would not move Nato one inch to the east. Then we went in, and we lied. We went into 13 Nato countries, we put missile systems in with nuclear capacity; we did joint exercises with Ukraine and these others for Nato. What is the purpose of Nato? This is what George Kennan asked; this is what Jack Matlock asked. All of the doyens of US foreign policy were saying: “Russia lost the Cold War. Let’s do to Russia what we did in Europe when we gave them the Marshall Plan. We’re the victors — let’s lift them up. Let’s integrate them into European society.”

FS: So you would have had Russia inside Nato?

RFK Jr: I think that that’s something we should have considered. What is the purpose of Nato other than to oppose Russia? If you’re addressing Russia in a hostile way from the beginning, of course their reaction is going to be hostile back. And if you’re slowly moving in all of these states, who we said would never become part of Nato. What happened in the Ukraine is that the US supported essentially a coup d’etat in 2014, against the democratically-elected government of Ukraine. We have telephone call transcripts of Victoria Nuland, one of the neocons in the White House, handpicking the new cabinet that was hostile to the Soviet Union. If you look at that, and you put yourself in Russia’s position, and you say: “Okay, the United States, our biggest enemy, is treating us as an enemy, has now taken over the government of a nation and made them hostile to us, and then started passing laws that are prejudicial to this giant Russian population.” If Mexico did that and then started killing — they killed 14,000 Russians in Donbas, the Ukrainian government — if Mexico did that to expatriate Americans, we’d invade in a second. We have to put ourselves in the shoes of our opponents. And it doesn’t mean saying that Vladimir Putin is not a gangster — he is. Or he’s not a thug — he is. Or he’s not a bully — he is. But going to war is not in his interest, either. And he repeatedly told us: these are red lines, you’re crossing. 

FS: Day by day, we hear news of atrocities taking place within the Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine. The idea that a peaceful settlement will be reached seems very distant at this point. Should we take it from what you’re saying that your support for Nato as president would be different?

RFK Jr: That is something that I’m going to look at as President. I’m going to look at how we de-escalate tensions between the great powers: between China, between the United States and Russia. How do we let these countries deal with their neighbours without pressure from the United States that makes them feel like they’re going to have to go into a military mode. I’m not saying that’s what happened here. I’m saying that’s something that we need to look at, and the reason that we need to look at that is we have institutional problems in our country. 

This is something my uncle discovered in 1960/61. He realised during the Bay of Pigs crisis that the CIA had devolved into an agency whose function was to provide the military-industrial complex with a constant pipeline of new wars. And my uncle came out of one of those meetings as the Bay of Pigs invasion collapsed, and he realised the CIA had lied to him, and he fired Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA, Charles Cabell, Richard Bissell, the three top people in the CIA, for lying to him. And he said at that time: “I want to take the CIA and shatter it into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind.” We have to recognise that it’s not just our civilian agencies that have been captured by industry — the military agencies, the Pentagon, and particularly the intelligence agencies have been captured by the military-industrial complex. We have to recognise that and we have to say, “We don’t want constant wars in our country; we can’t afford them.”

FS: So do you see yourself finishing the job they started then — do you want to take the CIA and shatter it into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind?

RFK Jr: I think the CIA needs to be reorganised. Most of the people who work at the CIA are patriotic Americans. They’re very good public servants, and we need them to function. But I think we really need to separate the espionage functions of that agency and the Plans Division, the division that actually does dirty tricks, that kills people, that makes wars, that involves itself in actions. Because what happens is, that operations tail begins to wag the espionage dog. That term has been hijacked — it means information gathering and analysis, and that is the function that we want, that the CIA was created to perform. And very, very early on, Allen Dulles, essentially corrupted the purpose of it by getting the CIA involved in assassinations and fixing elections. 

The CIA has been involved in coup d’etats and attempted coup d’etats in about a third of the countries in the world, most of them democracies. So if our national policy as a country is to promote democracy, the CIA’s policy has been the opposite. It has been at odds with the United States. My father recognised this too: his plan was to reorganise the CIA along those lines to separate the espionage and the analysis and information gathering functions from the black functions, because otherwise the espionage section sees its job as justifying all of these nefarious activities they’re involved in, and there’s no accountability. There’s never any accountability. You overthrow a government in Iraq, and what happens: you create Isis. You then get involved in Syria, from Isis, and you drive 2 million refugees into Europe which destabilises democracy all over Europe and basically causes Brexit. That’s the outcome of what the CIA considers a successful operation to depose Saddam Hussein. Is it really successful? I don’t think so. We have a 60-year war with Iran and that war began when the CIA overthrew the first democratically-elected government in the 6,000-year history of Persia. And we are still living with the blowback from that operation. And there’s no accountability and these agencies need to be accountable, and I would break up the CIA in a way that would make them accountable.

FS: The way you talk about the CIA and other agencies, saying that these organisations are corrupt, that the media is corrupt — at the same time, you talk about how you want to bring people together, and you’re worried about how divided society is. Is there not a sense that your rhetoric is divisive? It leads people to believe that a big chunk of their own country is against them? There is an enemy within, in the RFK world view, that needs to be destroyed. Isn’t that divisive?

RFK Jr: The way that you bring people together is by telling people the truth and getting them to agree on facts. If I’m wrong in any of the facts I told you, you and other people should challenge me. Because I feel that my job is to search for empirical truths, and then to be honest with people about it. If you try to censor people, if you try to lie to them about what’s happening — that our government is broken — if you try to lie about that, it just divides them further. You have to acknowledge there’s a problem. I’m a former drug addict and the first thing that you do if you want to deal with drug addiction is you admit there’s a problem and then you can deal with everything. We need to admit there’s a problem in our government before we’re able to heal our country.

FS: The rot, by your account, goes deep and wide. It almost feels like a revolution when you talk about it, because there must be many thousands of people who are in positions of power who you would want out. Do you think of it as a revolution?

RFK Jr: We need a revolution, I would say that — a peaceful revolution, and a revolution that brings us back to the values that have been robbed from us over the past 40 years, systematically, which I watched happen. I was watching what happened in 1980. We had a functioning government and we were in the middle of the Great Prosperity and most Americans trusted the government and we all trusted the media. And today, 22% of Americans trust their government and 22% trust the media. And the reason we have this blizzard of misinformation — or what is called misinformation — is because people are looking for other sources of information that they can actually trust, because the people who are supposed to be giving us good information are not. It’s spin; it’s propaganda. It’s government-orchestrated, and people know it. 

Everybody knows we were lied to about Covid. Everybody knows we were lied to about Vietnam. Everybody knows we were lied to about Iraq. “Weapons of mass destruction.” My opinion about these agencies is not happening in a vacuum. Everybody knows that Pharma lied to us about opioids, and about Vioxx. These aren’t conspiracy theories: “Robert Kennedy is crazy, because he thinks a corrupted FDA helped the pharmaceutical companies create the opioid crisis.” This is a fact that is well-known, well-documented, and that happened. And the question is: how are we going to stop it from happening again? And the answer to that is we’ve got to start by telling the truth about it. 

 
FS: Speaking of truth, and returning to the subject of vaccines for a moment, do you acknowledge that you went too far at any stage? Do you think that you yourself might have lost perspective?

RFK Jr: Here’s what I would say: show me where I got it wrong. Show me one fact that I’ve said in all of my social media postings that was factually erroneous. If you show me that, I’ll fix it, I’ll change it. And if it’s appropriate, I’ll apologise for it. But, that’s not what’s happened. What’s happened is, the media has said: “Oh, he passes misinformation.” And I say: “What piece of misinformation?” Everything I post is cited and sourced to government databases, and to peer-reviewed publications. I have probably the most robust fact-checking operation in America today. I have 320 MD physicians and PhD scientists, including, until recently, Nobel Prize-winner Luc Montagnier, on our advisory board looking at everything I post. If I get something wrong — and I will ultimately get something wrong — but so far, nobody’s been able to show me anything that I’ve gotten wrong. I wrote a book on Anthony Fauci — the biggest bestseller in America for a year, not reviewed anywhere, not acknowledged, but nevertheless — it’s 240,000 words, and nobody’s been able to find one. There’s 2,200 citations, every one of them with a barcode on it, so you can look up the citation while you read the book. Show me anything I got wrong. And we’ve had 12 or 15 editions, so if there was something wrong, we would correct it. 

FS: You talk a lot about the corruption of America, at home and abroad. Do you even think a good version of America is achievable at this point?

RFK Jr: I do think it’s achievable, and I think it’s achievable very quickly. I think my ultimate ambition is to restore the faith and the love of America, and the pride in America, so that my children can grow up with the kind of pride that I felt about my country. I can restore our moral authority around the world, and restore the reputation of America as an exemplary nation, something that the rest of the world can look to as an example, one that people will want to copy rather than as a threat. My uncle believed that America should be a leader, but we should not be a bully; and people understand the difference between those two things. Because my uncle steadfastly avoided war, and instead said: “I don’t want the picture of Americans around the world to be somebody with a gun, I want it to be a Peace Corps volunteer. I want it to be the Kennedy milk programme, in all the countries in Latin America and Africa; USAID, which was built to foster the growth of the middle class in those countries; and the Alliance for Progress.” And because of that, people around the world love John Kennedy more than any president in our history. There’s more boulevards named after him, more avenues, more statues to him, more universities and hospitals, in Africa and Latin America and all over the world than any other US President. That’s because he had a different vision that was not based on conquering people, but on helping them.

You can watch the whole video interview HERE


is the Editor-in-Chief & CEO of UnHerd. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of YouGov, and founder of PoliticsHome.

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