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RFK Jr Condemns Trump, Biden for Attacks on Civil Liberties in Appeal to Libertarians

‘President Trump presided over the greatest restriction on individual liberties this country has ever known’

RFK Jr Condemns Trump, Biden for Attacks on Civil Liberties in Appeal to Libertarians

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr condemned fellow contenders Donald Trump and President Joe Biden for their attacks on civil liberties in a speech at the Libertarian National Convention.

Kennedy manned the stage at the Washington Hilton’s Columbia Ballroom on Friday afternoon about an hour after his scheduled start time.

In his 45-minute speech, Kennedy largely focused on how the last two presidential administrations had failed to live up to the ideals of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution.

“In 1776, there was a generation of Americans that were willing to sacrifice their lives, their jobs, their property, their fortunes, to give us this Bill of Rights,” he said. “And upwards of 20,000 of them died to give us this gift, and we managed to keep it for two centuries.”

“Then, in eight short years during the administration of two presidents, we gave it all away without putting up a fight,” he added.

“The problem is the Bill of Rights is only a document,” he continued. “It doesn't have any magical powers to force government officials to respect it. And I'm sorry to say that again and again in our history, our leaders have failed to respect it again and again.”

Kennedy mentioned moments from the past century when a pretext was used to suspend constitutional rights: the Red Scare in the 1920s, McCarthyism in the 1950s, civil rights and Vietnam protestors in the 1960s, followed by the War on Drugs and the War on Terror.

“And most recently, it was the COVID pandemic. Maybe a brain worm ate that part of my memory,” he said, alluding to a diagnosis he received from a doctor after experiencing memory loss in 2010.

“I don't recall any part of the United States Constitution where there's an exemption for pandemics,” he added.

Though Kennedy would go on to criticize Biden, he first took heavy aim at Trump’s policies in 2020. He accused the former president of allowing health regulators to mandate “science-free social distancing” – a violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly, he noted.

“And they went after the third leg of the First Amendment, which is freedom of worship,” Kennedy continued. “They closed every church in this country for a year. … All of our constitutional rights were plowed under. They closed all the churches, but they kept open the Walmart and the liquor stores.”

The independent candidate claimed Trump shut down 3.3 million businesses and “gave the keys ... to a 50-year bureaucrat who'd never been elected to anything and had no accountability” – a reference to former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Anthony Fauci.

“President Trump presided over the greatest restriction on individual liberties this country has ever known,” he concluded.

“The only amendment that did not come under attack during the COVID ban was the Second Amendment,” Kennedy continued. “And many Americans believe that the reason for that is because we have a Second Amendment.”

When Kennedy turned his attention to the continued “persecution and prosecution” of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under Barack Obama, Trump and Biden, he received several standing ovations from the crowd. At one point, he was drowned out by shouts of “Free Assange!”

“He should be celebrated as a hero,” Kennedy said, claiming once again to pardon Assange on day one of his administration and build a statue of him at the Washington Press Club.

“When President Trump left office, the assault on the Constitution intensified,” he said. “President Biden violated a freedom so fundamental that James Madison didn't even think to put it in the Bill of Rights. He never imagined that the government could mandate medical procedures to unwilling Americans in violation of bodily autonomy.”

He went on to say that he grew up reading Aldous Huxley, Robert Heinlein, Franz Kafka, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and George Orwell.

“The consistent theme in all of those works was the presumption that censorship of speech was always wrong,” he said. “That it was always the first step down on the slippery slope toward tyranny and totalitarianism. There is no time when we look back at history and we say that the people who are censoring speech were the good guys."

Kennedy went on to discuss how the term "malinformation" was invented to describe “information that is factually accurate, but it’s nevertheless inconvenient.”

Late into the speech, a brief eruption of crowd-members chanting “Free Palestine!” caught Kennedy’s attention.

“Happy to talk afterwards,” he said.

“I promise you that when I'm President, I'm going to protect your right to speak freely,” he said. “I'm going to protect your right to assemble peacefully, I will protect your freedom to worship, I will protect your right to keep and bear arms.”

He then spoke of the Milgram experiment, a controversial study conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram in the 1960s.

According to Britannica:

In the experiment, an authority figure … would instruct a volunteer participant, labeled the “teacher,” to administer painful, even dangerous, electric shocks to the “learner,” who was actually an actor. Although the shocks were faked, the experiments are widely considered unethical today due to the lack of proper disclosure, informed consent, and subsequent debriefing related to the deception and trauma experienced by the teachers.

“Sixty-seven percent of the people, the subjects who he recruited, turned it up to 250 volts, where it was marked potentially fatal,” Kennedy said. “What Milgram concluded is that most people, 67 percent of people, will allow people in authority to overwhelm and subvert their most closely held values. They all knew it was wrong. But they did it because they were told to do it.”

“The good news is that 33 percent of those people stood up and walked out of the room,” he said. “Those were the libertarians.”

As the crowd dispersed after Kennedy’s speech, they were offered free hardcover copies of his book The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health.

Trump is scheduled to address the Libertarian National Convention from the Columbia Ballroom at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

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