On Thursday, House Democrats failed to remove Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. from a federal government censorship hearing, alleging that he had breached House rules aimed at curbing slanderous or derogatory testimonies. Responding to their efforts to silence him during the session, Kennedy retorted, “This is an attempt to censor a censorship hearing.”
Kennedy, currently in the presidential race against President Biden, was called upon by Republicans to give a testimony at a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing regarding the misuse of the Federal Government. However, following Kennedy’s introductory statement, a Democrat from Florida, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, proposed shifting the hearing to executive session to address Kennedy’s supposed transgression of a House rule that prohibits defaming or degrading testimonies.
Wasserman Schultz asserted that the witness had made “despicable” anti-Semitic and anti-Asian comments recently, explicitly referring to his remarks suggesting that COVID may have been “ethnically targeted” given the apparent immunity to the virus amongst Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese individuals. Kennedy later clarified that he did not accuse anyone of intentionally designing COVID to favor certain ethnic groups.
Wasserman Schultz’s attempt to adjourn the hearing and move to executive session was defeated by a 10-8 vote due to the Republican majority on the committee. Several Democrats voted against the GOP initiative to dismiss Wasserman Schultz’s motion, declaring “no to hate speech.”
From the onset, Democrats aimed to restrict Kennedy’s statement. They questioned why Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio and the subcommittee chairman intended to allot Kennedy 10 minutes of speaking time instead of the usual five.
Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat delegate from the Virgin Islands, asked for the justification for this deviation. Jordan responded by mentioning the committee’s customary practice of allowing lawmakers and ex-lawmakers more speaking time. However, Plaskett retorted, stating that Kennedy was neither of those.
Subsequently, Jordan agreed to assign Kennedy a five-minute speaking slot. He then commented to Plaskett, “If you want to cut him off and censor him some more, you’re welcome to do it.” To which Plaskett replied, “Oh, that’s not my job,” Plaskett said. “That’s your job. Why don’t you threaten the witness so they do not want to be a witness?”
In his opening remarks, Kennedy voiced his concern about the Democrats’ efforts to restrict his speech and larger endeavors to censor his presidential campaign. He claimed that his campaign announcement was censored by YouTube only five minutes in.
Kennedy highlighted recent evidence suggesting that the Biden administration attempted to censor his remarks about vaccines merely three days into their tenure. “They had to invent a new term called ‘malinformation’ to censor people like me,” he said. “Malinformation is truthful information that is inconvenient for the government, that they don’t want people to hear.”