Robert Reich: More Evidence That RFK Junior Is Working For Trump – OpEd


No one should doubt that Trump and Trump donors are behind RFK Junior’s campaign — with the goal of siphoning off enough votes from Biden to ensure a Trump victory.

1. The latest evidence

The latest evidence comes from Rita Palma, Robert F. Kennedy Junior’s state director in New York. A few days ago, Palma told New York Republicans that putting Kennedy on the ballot there will help “get rid of Biden,” which she calls her “No. 1 priority,” and make it easier for Trump to win the historically Democratic state.

In a video of her meeting with New York Republicans, Palma says: 

“The only way that Trump can even, remote possibility of taking New York is if Bobby is on the ballot. If it’s Trump vs. Biden, Biden wins. Biden wins six days, seven days a week. With Bobby in the mix, anything can happen. The only way for him, for Bobby, to shake it up and to get rid of Biden is if he’s on the ballot in every state, including New York.”

Palma includes a list of action items Republicans can use “to block Biden from winning the presidency.” Among them: “Collect signatures for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.,” “Go to Pennsylvania to help Trump,” and “Vote RFK Jr. for President!!”

2. Other evidence

Follow the money behind Kennedy Junior’s campaign, and you’ll find major Trump donors. 

Timothy Mellon — grandson of Andrew Mellon and an heir to the Mellon banking fortune — has contributed $20 million to Kennedy Junior’s super PAC so far. 

Mellon is also one of Trump’s top donors. 

RFK Junior’s candidacy is backed by a PAC that also funds Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Meanwhile, Kennedy Junior’s attacks on Biden are mounting. RFK Junior recently argued that Biden is a greater threat to democracy than Trump, citing as evidence Kennedy’s own suspension from some social media platforms during the Biden administration.

RFK Junior also says that the prosecutions of rioters who violently attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, might be politically motivated. (His statement came a day after RFK Junior came under fire for a fundraising email that painted a sympathetic portrait of the rioters as “activists” who had been “stripped of their constitutional liberties,” which the Kennedy campaign then disavowed.) 

3. RFK Junior’s other dangerous lies

At a time when the truth is a precious common good, RFK Junior has been spreading dangerous lies — not unlike Trump. 

He claims that COVID-19 was “targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people” and that “the people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”

And that “the Chinese are spending hundreds of millions of dollars developing ethnic bioweapons and we are developing ethnic bioweapons. They’re collecting Russian DNA. They’re collecting Chinese DNA so we can target people by race.”

RFK Junior has also promoted the baseless claim linking vaccines to autism. He’s been a leading proponent of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, erroneously suggesting the vaccine has killed more people than it has saved.

In his 2021 book, The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health, he alleged, without plausible evidence, that Dr. Fauci performed “genocidal experiments, sabotaged treatments for AIDS, and conspired with Bill Gates to suppress information about COVID-19.” This is libelous nonsense.

RFK Junior’s misinformation about vaccines continues to endanger public health.

4. A personal note about Robert F. Kennedy Senior

I knew Robert F. Kennedy Senior, and Robert F. Kennedy Junior is no Robert F. Kennedy Senior. I worked in Bobby Kennedy’s Senate office in 1967. It wasn’t a glamorous job. I ran the signature machine. But I did have a chance to get to see Bobby Kennedy close up.

I watched him stand up for economic and social justice. I witnessed him bringing together people of every race and ethnicity — to demand equal rights and an end to the Vietnam War.

Robert F. Kennedy Senior would never have suggested that a deadly virus was targeted at certain races. He wouldn’t have repeated the trope, dating to at least the Middle Ages, that Jews unleashed a plague on non-Jews. 

He would not increase the odds that a person like Donald Trump would get another term in the White House. 

And RFK Senior would be in favor of vaccinations. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed the Vaccination Assistance Act in order to, in the words of a CDC report, “achieve as quickly as possible the protection of the population, especially of all preschool children … through intensive immunization activity.”

The Kennedy clan is overwhelmingly for Biden and against RFK Junior’s presidential bid. Around 50 Kennedys gathered with Biden at the White House for St. Patrick’s Day. Many have made pro-Biden videos and posted them on social media. 

In what he called his first-ever social media message, Stephen Kennedy Smith, a nephew to JFK, warns that RFK Jr. is “promoting false information, conspiracy theories, and social mistrust.”

5. The math: Why RFK Junior’s candidacy helps Trump

Any anti-Trump votes RFK Junior pulls away from Biden will only help Trump.

Democracy won by a whisker in 2020. Just 44,000 votes out of more than 10 million cast in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin — less than half of 1 percent — made the difference between the Biden presidency and a tie in the Electoral College that would have thrown the election to the House of Representatives, and hence to Trump.

If not for his lustrous name, RFK Junior would be just another crackpot in the growing pool of bottom-feeding right-wing fringe politicians seeking to help Trump.

But the Kennedy brand is political gold, and it could pull away just enough unwitting Democratic voters to tip the race to Trump.

RFK Junior is urging people to “vote your conscience” and “not settle for the lesser of two evils.” But in the upcoming election, the larger of two evils is truly evil. 

If this were an ordinary election — pitting a conservative Republican against a liberal Democrat — I’d say the more, the merrier. If people want to vote for Junior or any third-party candidate, no problem. 

But the upcoming election isn’t an ordinary one. We’ve already witnessed what Trump has tried to do to remain in power. He’s an authoritarian sociopath. If he’s reelected, 2024 could mark the last democratic (small “d”) election in America. 

That the good name of the Robert F. Kennedy I worked for 57 years ago is being used to increase the risk of a Trump victory is beyond shameful.

If RFK Junior had any respect for the principles his father and uncle fought and ultimately died for, he would withdraw his candidacy immediately.

I believe that all Americans who believe in democracy must unite behind Joe Biden to ensure that Trump, in as then Representative Liz Cheney warned, “never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”

Please help spread the word.

This article was published at Robert Reich’s Substack

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and writes at Reich served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

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