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Kennedy blasts Biden, Trump over pandemic measures in pitch at Libertarian convention

By JONATHAN J. COOPER (Associated Press)

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. accused Joe Biden and Donald Trump Friday of trampling on personal liberties in response to the pandemic that spanned their presidencies.

Kennedy, who has long claimed to be a victim of government and media censorship of his unorthodox views, said Americans have lost faith in their leaders and institutions, and he pledged to restore it.

“Maybe a brain worm ate that part of my memory, but I don’t recall any part of the United States Constitution where there’s an exemption for pandemics,” Kennedy said, referencing a New York Times report that he was diagnosed more than a decade ago with a parasite that lodged in his brain.

“Neither of them upheld the Constitution when it really counted,” he said of the current and former president.

Kennedy spoke at the Libertarian Party convention in Washington as he looks to grow his base of support among Americans disaffected with the Republican and Democratic parties. He’s formed alliances with minor parties spanning the ideological spectrum to gain access to the ballot in November and the debate stage next month.

Kennedy talked publicly about pursuing the Libertarian nomination as a way to secure ballot access, which sparked controversy in the party, where some members opposed supporting a candidate who is not always in step with their limited government views. His mere presence at the convention was controversial, with some delegates attempting to bar his speech. Kennedy was not on the list of nominees from which a Libertarian presidential candidate will be selected on Saturday.

Bearing the name of one of the Democratic Party’s most famous political dynasties, Kennedy acknowledged his differences with libertarians but focused is pitch on his view that the Biden and Trump administrations overstepped during the pandemic.

Trump, he said, was wrong to close businesses and shield companies from liability in developing products to respond to the pandemic. And Biden violated Americans’ fundamental freedoms with his support for vaccine mandates, Kennedy said. The mandates, which aimed to require inoculations for as many as 100 million workers, were partially blocked in courts and Congress, and most of the rest ended in 2023 with the Biden administration touting them as tremendously beneficial.

Kennedy also took aim at social media companies he says bowed to government pressure to block dissenting views on the origins of COVID-19 and the safety of vaccines.

“Democratic and Republican administrations have taken turns assaulting our constitutional rights and freedoms,” Kennedy said.

He repeated his pledge to pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is fighting extradition from the United Kingdom on U.S. espionage charges, and to drop charges against Edward Snowden, a former intelligence contractor who revealed classified U.S. surveillance programs to capture communications and data from around the world.

Trump is scheduled to address the Libertarian convention Saturday, courting a segment of mostly conservative voters that has often been skeptical of him while trying to ensure attendees aren’t drawn to Kennedy.

Vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective in laboratory testing and in real-world use in hundreds of millions of people over decades. The World Health Organization credits childhood vaccines with preventing as many as 5 million deaths a year.

The COVID-19 vaccine has also been found to be safe and effective in testing and real-world usage. While no medical intervention is risk-free, doctors and researchers have proven that risks from disease are generally far greater than the risks from vaccines.

An anti-vaccine group Kennedy led has a lawsuit pending against a number of news organizations, among them The Associated Press, accusing them of violating antitrust laws by taking action to identify misinformation, including about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines. Kennedy took leave from the group when he announced his run for president but is listed as one of its attorneys in the lawsuit.

Source: Berkshire mont

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