By Gary Bai and Jan Jekielek
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., best known for his positions on environmental law and vaccine safety, filed the paperwork to run in the 2024 race for president of the United States on April 5.
He filed as a Democrat, according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing.
“America is enduring an apocalyptic tribal polarization more toxic and dangerous than any time since the Civil War,” Kennedy told The Epoch Times exclusively following the filing of the paperwork.
“And while Democrats battle Republicans, elites are strip-mining our middle class, poisoning our children, and commoditizing our landscapes.
“I will focus my campaign, not on the issues that divide us but the values we have in common.”
Kennedy is the second candidate to declare a run for the Democratic nomination, joining Marianne Williamson.
Kennedy’s father, the late Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-N.Y.), was assassinated when running for the presidency in 1968. His uncle, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Texas in 1963.
Kennedy signaled earlier in March that he planned to run.
“If it looks like I can raise the money and mobilize enough people to win, I’ll jump in the race,” Kennedy wrote in a Twitter post dated March 10. “If I run, my top priority will be to end the corrupt merger between state and corporate power that has ruined our economy, shattered the middle class, polluted our landscapes and waters, poisoned our children, and robbed us of our values and freedoms. Together we can restore America’s democracy.”
Currently, Kennedy has a campaign page soliciting donations from like-minded U.S. citizens.
He’s running on a message of “Freedom First” and has positioned himself against what he calls “the elites.”
“Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has spent his life fighting for American democracy and the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution,” his campaign page reads. “He has battled against corporate greed and government corruption to protect our children, our health, our livelihoods, our environment, and above all, our freedom.
“With integrity, courage, and self-sacrifice, he has led Americans in an ennobling fight to restore our country as the exemplary nation, and to end the toxic polarization that divides us and enriches the elites.”
Vaccine Safety Concerns
Though a registered Democrat, Kennedy is known to oppose many policies of the current administration, particularly those related to COVID-19.
He founded Children’s Health Defense, a health non-profit dedicated to solving “chronic health conditions caused by environmental exposures,” and has been vocal about the harms associated with the COVID-19 vaccines.
In an interview with EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program in March, Kennedy cited a 2000 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in which it studied the relationship between vaccines and a 70–80 percent decline in mortality from infectious diseases between 1900 and the present.
“The CDC study found that the vaccines had almost nothing to do with it,” he said, adding that the cause of the decline should be mostly attributed to “engineers,” who brought about advancements including greater sanitation, better transportation of nutritious foods, chlorination of water, and better sewage treatment.
“That doesn’t mean that vaccines did not reduce the occurrence of infectious disease. A measles vaccine can stop you from getting measles, at least when you’re a child, but it isn’t making you healthier, and it isn’t making you more likely to live a long and healthy life,” he said.
“There’s a lot of evidence that vaccines are not likely to give you an extended life. In fact, they are likely to shorten your life and make it less enriching and make you a less effective human being.”
Social media platforms such as Instagram have censored Kennedy from speaking against the COVID vaccines.
According to Kennedy, the phenomenon of “agency capture,” in which “regulatory agencies become captured by the industries that they’re supposed to regulate,” is especially prevalent in the pharmaceutical industry.
“When I began litigating and advocating on the vaccine issue in 2005, I was immediately dumbstruck by not only the level of agency capture within the public health agencies, but the financial entanglements, which were unprecedented in other agencies that basically put agency capture on steroids,” Kennedy said in the recent American Thought Leaders interview.
As an example of this mechanism, he noted, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received 75 percent of its drug approval budget and 45 percent of its total budget from the pharmaceutical industry.
“Not only NIH [National Institutes of Health] as an agency, but individual scientists within NIH are allowed to patent drugs that they work on and then turn over to the pharmaceutical industry and collect royalties on them. Those scientists over the past decade or so have collected some $300 million in royalties,” he told host Jan Jekielek.
Another example, he added, is that about $5 billion out of $12 billion of the CDC’s annual budget is allocated to purchasing vaccines in “secretive sweetheart deals with the big vaccine companies” and promoting those vaccines to a large number of people.
A particular target demographic of that effort, he said, is children.
“It is 74 million children that CDC essentially has the power to mandate that they take vaccines,” Kennedy said. “Many of them receive restrictions about attending school[s] and exercising other kinds of rights.”
“With the metrics at that agency, if you want a promotion or if you want a salary increase, you don’t get that by finding a problem with a vaccine. You get that by showing that you’ve contributed to the expanded coverage of vaccine use,” he added.
“It’s a perverse incentive for a regulatory agency, because it really makes them an arm of the industry rather than a functioning regulatory agency that’s protecting public health.”
Thoughts on the CIA
According to Kennedy, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has become “a government within our government” and a “tumor” on the American system, and he proposed to fix the agency by implementing a separate oversight body over it.
He alleges that the intelligence agency has used “mind control” techniques such as “sensory deprivation, torture techniques, fear and propaganda, [and] authoritarian messages” to influence people around the world.
“The CIA, of course, has for decades perfected these techniques for mind control—this isn’t paranoia, by the way,” Kennedy told The Epoch Times during the interview. “Their program was called MK-Ultra in the original one, MK-NAOMI, MK-Dietrich in the other ones—MK stands for mind control—that was the code for mind control.”
“They were devising ways to control individuals and get people to become unwitting assassins, what they call Manchurian Candidates.”
The CIA was led in a “wrong direction,” he said, when former director of the agency Allen Dulles “manipulated” it to give power to the “Plans Division” in the agency; he said the agency was then able to conduct operations in nations around the world such as assassinating leaders and manipulating elections.
“Because they’re both in the same agency, the tail, which is the Plans Division, begins wagging the dog, which is the espionage and information division [that] becomes an extension of the paramilitary division, and its function now is to justify these paramilitary interventions and to cover them up and to make sure there’s no accountability,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy alleged that the CIA was involved in coup d’etats or attempted coup d’etats between 1947 and 1997 against a third of the nations on Earth.
“Most of them were democracies,” Kennedy said. “During that period of MK-Ultra [1953–1973], they were paying social scientists to devise ways of social control, and some of those were on individuals. They were using psychedelic drugs like LSD. They were using sensory deprivation, torture techniques, fear and propaganda, authoritarian messages, and experimenting with all these things to figure out what worked.”
The CIA has implemented these social control measures in America for many years surreptitiously, he added. Fast forward to the modern day, he said on this note that the agency participated in “Event 201,” a simulation of a global pandemic sponsored by Bill Gates, the World Economic Forum, and the Chinese CDC in late 2019. Kennedy alleged that the agency aided in discussions about using the coronavirus pandemic “as a pretext for clamping down with totalitarian controls.”
“The first thing they said is, ‘We have to limit free speech. We can’t allow people to criticize government policies and particularly, we cannot allow people to talk about a lab leak.’ They’re doing this in October of 2019 before any of us had ever heard of Wuhan,” Kennedy said.
He suggested that a way to reform the agency would be to implement an oversight body that examines the “cost of the blowback” incurred by the operations of the Plans Division.
“The cost of the blowback is never measured. Look at the Iraq War. The CIA manufactured evidence for the Iraq War, the weapons of mass destruction,” Kennedy said. “[Then-Director of Central Intelligence] George Tenet told George Bush, ‘It’s a slam dunk. We go into Iraq and then that leads us into Syria.’ The Syrian war leads to 2 million refugees that go into Europe, and then democracy collapses in Europe. We have Brexit.”
“My father was going to fix the CIA. When he was running, his intention was to return the CIA to what it was supposed to be, which is an espionage agency, which means gathering information and doing analysis and providing that information to the executive,” Kennedy said.
In his interview with “American Thought Leaders,” Kennedy told Jekielek that America is no longer a democracy and that its elections are controlled by wealthy donors.
“It’s more of an oligarchy or a plutocracy that only is responding to the needs of the rich and to the needs of corporations, who are paying the lobbying election costs of the politicians, who then become their indentured servants on Capitol Hill,” Kennedy said.
If the money isn’t taken out of elections, Kennedy said, America is a “corporation.”
“Listen, to run for New York state Senate today, our U.S. Senate in New York, costs $50 million,” he said. “That means that if you’re running, you have to be calling hundreds of people every day and asking them for $10,000, $25,000 contributions. When you get into the office and they call you back, you have to take their phone calls. That means you don’t have any time left for the little guy who’s getting trampled by the government.”
He called for removing funding by wealthy corporations and individual donors from the electoral process.
“One of those is to get money out of the electoral process. We had that rule for 100 years in our country,” he said, referring to the Tillman Act of 1907, which banned corporate funding in elections. However, a 2008 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, ruled that certain speech-related corporate spending is protected by the First Amendment, and removed restrictions on corporate spending on electioneering communications.
According to Kennedy, he grew up in a family that allowed him to be “fully engaged” with the current affairs of America.
“My childhood was exciting. From when I was little, I felt fully engaged with what was happening in this country,” Kennedy said. “We knew that what we were seeing on a day-to-day basis was part of the history of our country. My parents talked to us about history and literature and values every day.”
“We were all raised with this notion that our lives would be consumed by some great controversy, and that we would be very privileged if we got to take some meaningful part in it,” he added.
Kennedy’s sister, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, is a former lieutenant governor of Maryland. His brother, Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, served as a U.S. representative for Massachusetts’s 8th congressional district from 1987 to 1999. Another of Kennedy’s siblings, Chris Kennedy, ran for governor of Illinois in 2018 but was defeated in the race.
President Joe Biden is expected to announce his run for a second term soon as a Democrat. Meanwhile, the Republican race field includes former President Donald Trump, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
The CDC, NIH, CIA, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration were contacted for comment.