Steve Bannon spent “months” recruiting anti-vaxxer RFK Jr. to run against Biden as “chaos agent”

Former chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon spent “months” encouraging anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to run against President Joe Biden in the 2024 election, according to a report from CBS News. 

People familiar with the matter told the outlet that Bannon hoped Kennedy could serve as a “useful chaos agent” in the election while also spreading “anti-vaccine sentiment around the country,” according to CBS News’ Robert Costa.

Kennedy, a nephew of President John F. Kennedy and son of the murdered Robert F. Kennedy, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday to run as a Democrat in the upcoming election. 

“Help me decide whether to run for President. If it looks like I can raise the money and mobilize enough people to win, I’ll jump in the race,” Kennedy tweeted in March. 

“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,” he wrote.

Kennedy has been accused of playing a leading role in “spreading digital misinformation about Covid vaccines” by the Center for Countering Digital Hate. He also issued an apology last year after saying that Americans hesitant to vaccines had it worse than Anne Frank, who lived through the Nazi occupation of Germany. 

Kennedy has long been involved in the anti-vaccine movement. His charity, Children’s Health Defense, flourished during the pandemic, with revenues more than doubling in 2020 to $6.8 million, according to filings made with charity regulators obtained by CBS.

He also released a book in 2021 titled “The Real Anthony Fauci,” in which he accused the country’s top infectious disease doctor of committing “a historic coup d’etat against Western democracy.”

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Kennedy’s anti-vax beliefs have sometimes aligned him with far-right figures. A now-deleted Instagram photo obtained by CBS shows Kennedy backstage at a July 2021 Reawaken America event with former President Donald Trump’s ally Roger Stone, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and anti-vaccine profiteer Charlene Bollinger. 

He has also taken his vaccine conspiracy theories to Fox News, telling Tucker Carlson “we have to love our freedom more than we fear a germ.”

Kennedy also made an appearance at a rally against vaccine mandates in Washington, D.C., during which he said, “The minute they hand you that vaccine passport, every right that you have is transformed into a privilege contingent upon your obedience to arbitrary government dictates. It will make you a slave.”

His sister, Kerry Kennedy told the Associated Press in 2021 that her brother is “completely wrong on this issue [vaccines] and very dangerous.”

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