Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argues American middle class 'systematically' wiped out under COVID-19 lockdowns

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    Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democrat who days ago announced his 2024 candidacy for the White House, effectively challenging President Biden presumptive re-election bid, argued that the American middle class was “systematically” wiped out during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    “More than anything, we have to rebuild the American middle class. And part of that is getting away from the warfare economy. And doing what China originally did which is to build its power and project power by building its economy at home,” Kennedy Jr. told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto. “The strength of a nation comes from a strong economy and a vibrant middle class. And we have wiped out the middle class in this country systematically.” 

    “Worse of all is what it did to the economy,” Kennedy Jr., a vocal advocate against vaccinating against COVID-19, said, referring to lockdown measures introduced in 2020. “It caused $16 trillion, according to Larry Summers, the IMF report, the Harvard report. We shifted $4 trillion in wealth from the American middle class to this new aristocracy of billionaires. We created 500 new billionaires. The Oxfam report, which came out this week, shows that the billionaires that existed at the beginning of the pandemic, the people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeffrey Bezos, Bloomberg, etc., increased their wealth by 30% during the pandemic. From the lockdowns. And Amazon got to shut down all of its competitors.” 

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    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announces his candidacy for President of the United States in a speech at Boston Park Plaza.  (David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

    Cavuto challenged Kennedy Jr. on the stances of progressives within his own party, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who supported a wealth tax, noting how families like the Kennedys would be the ones paying for such stipulation. “I don’t think these huge disparities in wealth are healthy for our country or healthy for democracy,” Kennedy Jr. said in response. “To have very, very high concentrations of wealth in a nation that is now marked by widespread poverty.”

    “I’m in a better position to run against Donald Trump than any of the Democrats because I can hold him accountable for the worst thing that he did, which was the lockdowns. The lockdowns were absolutely catastrophic,” Kennedy Jr., nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, said.

    Kennedy Jr. announced his 2024 presidential candidate Wednesday after filing paperwork earlier this month. A USA Today/Suffolk University poll of previous Biden voters had Kennedy Jr. polling had 14%, compared to 67% who said they would support Biden again. 

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    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argued he’s in a better position than President Joe Biden to take on former President Donald Trump in 2024.  (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

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    “It’s like running against somebody in your family, but ultimately, I think I’m in a much better position to beat Donald Trump than Joe Biden is, and I also just disagree with him on basic issues, like my father did with Lyndon Johnson, on censorship,” Kennedy Jr. told Cavuto of his decision to take on Biden. 

    “I don’t think the White House should be censoring its political critics,” he added. “I think what we’re doing with this war is unnecessarily prolonging it. And unnecessarily hiking up the bloodshed. I disagree with that. I agree some of the public health policies of this administration. My dad ran on principle. He did not believe that he could win. And his objective was to tell the truth to the American people. And that’s what I’m going to do. And if there’s an appetite for that, I’ll be in the White House in 2025.” 

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    Robert F. Kennedy Jr. shakes hands with supporters on stage after announcing his candidacy for President on April 19, 2023, in Boston, Massachusetts. He recently polled at 14% among previous voters for Joe Biden.  (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

    Kennedy Jr.’s father, known by his initials RFK and by the nickname Bobby, served as U.S. attorney general and a U.S. senator for New York before his assassination on June 5, 1968. 

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    “There are things that I’m much more frightened of than death for example,” Kennedy Jr. told Cavuto. “I’m much more frightened of losing my constitutional rights, and of America losing its democracy. There’s a whole generation of Americans in 1776 who put their lives on the line to give us this Constitution and put their property on the line. And we’re watching the Constitution being taken away from us. We have to be willing to take risks.”

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