Kerry Kennedy, the sister of Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., criticized his baseless remarks at a press dinner last week, where he claimed COVID-19 “ethnically targeted” certain groups.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a known conspiracy theorist who has been vocal about his anti-vaccine stance, claimed in a now-viral video obtained by the New York Post that the virus has a “genetic structure” that is used “to attack Caucasians and Black people.”
On Monday, his sister, the president of nonprofit organization Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, released a statement in response to her brother’s controversial comments at the press dinner, which was already publicly marred by drinking and flatulence.
“I strongly condemn my brother’s deplorable and untruthful remarks last week about Covid being engineered for ethnic targeting,” the statement read. “His statements do not represent what I believe or what Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights stand for, with our 50+-year track record of protecting rights and standing against racism and all forms of discrimination.”
His nephew, former congressman Joe Kennedy III, also criticized the presidential candidate’s dinnertime rant on Monday.
“My uncle’s comments were hurtful and wrong. I unequivocally condemn what he said,” his Twitter post read.
At the dinner, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. had also baselessly claimed that “the people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”
Later in his ramble, he added that he was not sure if Black and white people were “deliberately targeted or not.”
The Democratic presidential candidate also claimed that the United States was funding efforts, including labs in Ukraine that sought to store Russian DNA, “so we can target people by race.” The BBC reported in 2022 that there was no evidence to support the claim that the U.S. and Ukraine were working on creating biological weapons.
Similarly, experts have bashed the idea that COVID-19 “targeted” certain ethnic groups.
“Jewish or Chinese protease consensus sequences are not a thing in biochemistry, but they are in racism and antisemitism,” Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan, posted on Twitter on Saturday.
The same day, the CEO of the American Jewish Committee and former U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch tweeted in response to the presidential candidate’s remarks, referring to them as both “deeply offensive and incredibly dangerous.”
“Every aspect of his comments reflects some of the most abhorrent antisemitic conspiracy theories throughout history and contributes to today’s dangerous rise of antisemitism,” Deutch wrote.
RFK Jr. has received attention for his outlandish claims in the past.
At an anti-vaccine rally in 2022, he said that “Hitler’s Germany” had looser restrictions than the ones imposed in the U.S. during the height of the pandemic — a remark that even drew criticism from his wife.