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Democrats urge Republicans to rescind RFK Jr. invitation to testify

RFK Jr. condemned over false COVID claims
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. condemned over false COVID-19 claims 04:42

Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Dan Goldman and Judy Chu are expected to send a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, urging them to rescind an invitation to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to testify Thursday before the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, a source familiar confirms with the matter tells CBS News. 

The request comes after the Democratic presidential candidate over the weekend made false claims that COVID-19 was "ethnically targeted" to attack certain ethnic groups while sparing Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people, a conspiracy theory that prompted accusations of antisemitism and racism. Kennedy is still scheduled to testify before the House panel Thursday about social media companies curtailing his anti-vaccine rhetoric. 

"Mr. Kennedy has repeatedly and recently spread vile and dangerous antisemitic and anti-Asian conspiracy theories that tarnish his credibility as a witness and must not be legitimized with his appearance before the U.S. Congress, nor given the platform of an official committee hearing to spread his baseless and discriminatory views," the Democratic lawmakers wrote. 

"Mr. Kennedy is employing a pernicious form of antisemitism that has been used for centuries," their letter continues. "This technique was used by Hitler claiming that there are biological differences between ethnic or racial groups to portray Jews as a lesser form of humanity, a steppingstone to justifying the annihilation of the Jews during the Holocaust." 

McCarthy said Monday he disagrees with everything Kennedy said, but when asked if he should testify, the Speaker replied, "I don't think censoring somebody is actually the answer here." 

Wasserman Schultz retorted that no one is censoring Kennedy, but giving him a platform is "irresponsible." 

"Mr. Kennedy can say anything he wants, and he certainly has," Schultz said. "No one is censoring him. The issue is should Republicans give him one of the world's largest platforms by allowing him to share misinformation and dangerous disinformation before Congress. It is irresponsible, especially given the incendiary and inaccurate things he's saying and the violence that Jews and Asians are facing in this country as a result of rising hatred directed at their communities."

Kennedy, a nephew of President John F. Kennedy, has garnered a reputation as an outspoken voice of the anti-vaccine movement, and as a conspiracy theorist. That was long before he decided to run against President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. Kennedy's own family members disavowed his most recent remarks. 

"I STRONGLY condemn my brother's deplorable and untruthful remarks last week about Covid being engineered for ethnic targeting," his sister, Kerry Kennedy, posted to Twitter

"My uncle's comments were hurtful and wrong. I unequivocally condemn what he said," Joe Kennedy III wrote.

Thursday's hearing focuses on censorship. Other witnesses include Louisiana Special Assistant Attorney General D. John Sauer and a journalist at Breitbart News.

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