Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has denied allegations that he floated a racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about COVID-19 during a New York City dinner last week.
In an interview with The Jewish News Syndicate published Monday, RFK Jr. lamented that his controversial remarks about COVID-19 were picked up by the New York Post during what he believed to be an off-the-record dinner. Post First reported The video shows Kennedy discussing the argument that the coronavirus has been “racially targeted” to “attack Caucasians and black people” while sparing “Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese”. His comments caused an uproar and were condemned by Jewish groups, the White House and even members of the Kennedy family.
“I made a statement in a meeting that was presented to us as a closed meeting as per Chatham House rules,” Kennedy told JNS. “I made an accurate statement about an NIH-funded study. I regret ever talking about it now because it’s clear that even the correct facts will be distorted and misrepresented in ways that hurt people.”
“The last thing I want to do is hurt people, especially Jews, who have already suffered more than any other race,” he added.
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In the lengthy interview, Kennedy was emphatic that he was not anti-Semitic.
“The two worst accusations anyone can make about you are that you’re anti-Semitic or a pedophile,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything worse than that.”
He told the outlet that love and affection for Israel is “part of our family’s DNA,” referring to his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, and father, Robert F. Kennedy, a former U.S. attorney general and senator who strongly supported Israel.
Kennedy vowed to continue that legacy if elected president, saying, “It is a very disappointing and disturbing development to me that the Democratic Party has departed from its traditions.”
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He also said that going forward, he would be more careful before speaking in public.
“It’s clear to me now that I need to be very careful,” Kennedy told JNS.
“I have to learn from this, and the lesson I learn is that I have to realize that the words I use have an impact, and they can be misused and misinterpreted,” he said. “I regret talking about this study, and I will be careful to make sure I don’t do anything like it in the future.”
In Kennedy’s controversial remarks, the Democratic presidential candidate said he did not know whether the virus was “targeted intentionally” but that “there are papers that show racial or ethnic discrimination and effects on different groups”.
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“There is an argument that it is racially targeted. COVID-19 disproportionately attacks certain races,” he said. “Covid-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people with the most immunity are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”
According to The Post, Kennedy also claimed that the Chinese were “spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the development of racial biological weapons,” and that the United States was also “developing racial bioweapons.”
White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre called his comments “false,” “outrageous” and said they “put our fellow Americans at risk.” RFK Jr.’s nephew, former Rep. Joe Kennedy III, said his uncle’s comments were “hurtful and wrong,” while his sister Carrie Kennedy condemned them as “sad and false.”
After the Post story broke, Kennedy Tried to clarify. His remarks on social media called the Post’s story “false” and cited a study detailing the different effects of COVID-19 on people of different races to support his claims.
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“I correctly pointed out — during an off-the-record conversation — that the U.S. and other governments are developing racially targeted bioweapons and that a 2021 study of the COVID-19 virus showed that COVID-19 disproportionately affects some races because the furin cleave docking site is least compatible with Chinese ws,” he said.
Kennedy also responded to his family, telling Fox News Digital, “The reactions of these family members are based on the New York Post’s misreporting and deliberate misrepresentation of what I said. It’s an example of how the media manipulates Americans against each other. Fortunately, I believe the love within our family will overcome these efforts for us.”
Kennedy described his long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination as “massive experience in telling the truth” and told JNS that he would strive to maintain his personal integrity and “clear conscience” on the campaign trail.
“Ultimately, the success of this project is in God’s hands, and the only thing I have control over is the little piece of real estate inside my own shoes,” he said. “My biggest goal is to finish this process with my integrity intact. My second goal is to be elected president of the United States.”
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie and Kathleen Joyce contributed to this report.