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Anti-vaxx conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr is challenging Biden for the Democratic nomination despite having negligible support

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at the New York State Capitol, May 14, 2019, in Albany, New York.

Hans Pennink/AP Photo

  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is challenging President Joe Biden for the 2024 Democratic nomination.
  • He filed paperwork with the FEC on Wednesday, despite not featuring in most polls.
  • Kennedy, the nephew of JFK, is a prominent figure in the anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist movement.

Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, is running for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination. But his chances are slim.

Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Committee on Wednesday, becoming the second Democratic candidate to challenge incumbent President Joe Biden.

He follows self-help author Marianne Williamson, who announced her candidacy last month.

Recent polls point to Kennedy’s outsider status — most pollsters did not think to include him in surveys of potential voters.

Higher-profile names such as Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom are considered far more likely, should Biden choose not to run.

Last month, Kennedy announced on Twitter that he was considering a run for the presidency. “If it looks like I can raise the money and mobilize enough people to win, I’ll jump in the race,” he said.

He said his priority would be to “end the corrupt merger between state and corporate power,” which he said damaged the economy, middle class, and landscapes.

Kennedy, who was originally an environmental lawyer, has courted controversy with his anti-vaccine positions.

He first made his name in the anti-vaccine movement in 2005, when he published a story alleging a massive conspiracy regarding thimerosal-containing vaccines, which Scientific American said ignored the existing scientific literature.

That was part of a discredited theory that vaccines cause autism, which Kennedy has promoted and which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says is not based in fact.

Kennedy’s anti-vaccine group, Children’s Health Defense, was removed from Facebook and Instagram in August 2022 after Meta, which owns the platforms, said it repeatedly violated the company’s medical-misinformation policies.

Kennedy’s personal Instagram account was also removed in 2021.

Kennedy also caused controversy in January 2022 by comparing COVID-19 pandemic efforts to the Holocaust, telling a crowd at a rally that “even in Hitler Germany, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland.”

After the rally, his sister Kerry Kennedy said on Twitter that her brother’s “lies and fear-mongering” were “sickening and destructive,” and did not represent the views of their families.

A year earlier, several family members published an article in Politico that accused Kennedy of being “tragically wrong” about vaccines.

While Biden has not yet formally announced his candidacy in 2024, Axios cited advisers saying that there is no indication the president has changed his mind about his promise to run for reelection. Aides expect him to announce his run in the summer.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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