In a hearing on federal government censorship, House Democrats made an unsuccessful attempt to remove Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a Democrat running for president against President Joe Biden, after claiming he violated House rules aimed at preventing defamatory or degrading testimony.
The effort by Democrats to silence Kennedy during Thursday’s hearing at the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government prompted Kennedy to say, “This is an attempt to censor a censorship hearing.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., tried to take the hearing into executive session to discuss Kennedy’s alleged violation of a House rule prohibiting testimony that defames or degrades others. She said her fellow witness had made “despicable” anti-Semitic and anti-Asian comments, referring to his comment that COVID may have been “ethnically targeted” because those who are most immune to COVID appear to be Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people. Kennedy later said he was not accusing anyone of deliberately engineering COVID to spare certain ethnic populations.
The motion was voted down 10-8 since Republicans hold the majority of the committee. Before Kennedy’s opening remarks, Democrats attempted to limit him to five minutes of speaking time, as opposed to the customary 10, which angered Kennedy.
“My uncle Edward Kennedy has more legislation with his name on it than any senator in United States history,” he said in his opening remarks. I don’t think that’s because he was inoffensive. It’s because he was able to reach across the aisle because he didn’t deal in the insults, because he didn’t try to censor people.”
Kennedy also noted recent emails that show the Biden administration tried to censor his comments about vaccines, just three days into the start of that administration.
“Censorship is antithetical to our party,” Kennedy said. “The First Amendment was not written for easy speech. It was written for the speech that nobody likes you for.”
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers blasted the Democrats’ tactics. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who chairs the subcommittee, said, “If you want to cut him off and censor him some more, you’re welcome to do it.”
The hearing shows just how rampant censorship is in today’s politics, and serves as a reminder to Americans that our right to free speech must be protected at all costs if we are to remain the beacon of democracy and freedom that we have long been admired to be.
RFK JR TO STACEY PLASKETT: “Virtually every statement that you just made about me is inaccurate… These are defamations and malignancies that are used to censor me to prevent people from listening to the actual things that I’m saying”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) July 20, 2023