RFK Jr.’s Campaign Initially Showed Sympathy for Jan. 6 Rioters, Later Retracted Statement

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TL/DR –

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign mistakenly issued a statement claiming that those charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack had been stripped of their constitutional liberties. The campaign retracted the statement, explaining it was an error caused by a new marketing contractor and did not reflect Kennedy’s views. The campaign also stressed that those who violated the law on Jan. 6 should be subject to appropriate penalties, and the contract with the responsible company has been terminated.


Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Retracts Controversial Statement on Rioters

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the vaccine skeptic running independently for president, retracted a statement on Thursday, which claimed that the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol rioters held in a Washington jail had been “stripped of their constitutional liberties.” The campaign disavowed the statement, attributing it to an error by a new marketing contractor and clarified that anyone who violated the law on Jan. 6 should face appropriate penalties. The campaign has also ended its contract with the responsible company. This email controversy has seemingly placed Kennedy closer to Donald J. Trump and his followers who argue that the rioters are being treated unfairly.

Kennedy’s Campaign Focuses on Julian Assange

The Kennedy campaign has been primarily focusing on Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder facing extradition to the United States on charges of violating the Espionage Act. The campaign solicited donations from supporters, describing Assange as a “political prisoner” and urging the U.S government to drop the charges against him. The campaign also raised concerns about the threats faced by Ed Snowden and the Jan. 6 activists held in Washington.

Trump and Kennedy’s Views on Jan. 6 Rioters

Trump and his allies, alongside far-right circles online, have portrayed the Jan. 6 rioters as heroes and martyrs. Kennedy, known for promoting vaccine misinformation, has expressed sympathy for people claiming the election was stolen, despite calling Trump’s efforts to overturn the election “appalling.” He asserted in a recent CNN interview that the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections were stolen from the Democrats.

Kennedy’s Consideration on Pardoning Jan. 6 Convicts

Kennedy told The Washington Post last year that he would consider pardoning people convicted in connection with Jan. 6, if prosecutorial malfeasance is demonstrated. His campaign’s inclusion of Assange and Snowden, wanted for leaking U.S. intelligence secrets, with Capitol rioters has raised eyebrows. Over 1,250 people have been charged with crimes related to the attack, with hundreds already convicted. NBC News reports that only a minor number of these defendants are being held in the Washington jail.

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