Last month, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. formally announced his 2024 presidential bid. A longtime anti-vaxxer, Kennedy has been one of the biggest promoters of the falsehood that vaccines cause autism. And in a Jan. 2023 rally, Kennedy compared America’s COVID-19 vaccination mandates to life in Nazi Germany.
So it’s no surprise that, in the early stages of his presidential campaign, he already made an appearance on an Infowars-affiliated show hosted by far-right conspiracy theorist Mike Adams. During this appearance, Kennedy expressed sympathy for right-wing election deniers and reiterated his pledge to prosecute officials he believes lied about COVID.
Kennedy also pledged to shift NIH funding from the study of infectious diseases to the study of chronic illnesses because, he said, the fact that “1 out of every 34 kids now has autism in our country is a much worse threat than COVID ever was.”
Natural News Promotes Conspiracy Theories and Racism
Mike Adams is the founder of Natural News, a website infamous for promoting conspiracy theories and junk science — from HIV/AIDS denialism, to bogus medical cures, to 9/11 trutherism.
In 2010, Natural News published an article by antisemitic conspiracy theorist David Icke which declared that “HIV does NOT cause AIDS. HIV does not cause anything. … HIV is a weak virus and does not dismantle the immune system. Nor is AIDS passed on sexually.”
There are multiple articles which offer fraudulent cures for cancer, including chaparral, eggplant (which it touts as a “cure” for skin cancer), ginger (an “outstanding food for annihilating ovarian cancer cells”), and bromelain (a mixture of enzymes found in pineapple stems).
Articles on Natural News have alleged that the 2012 Aurora, CO shooting, the Sandy Hook shooting, the murder of George Floyd, and the Jan. 6 insurrection were all “false flag” events.
Mike Adams and other Natural News contributors have also promoted the white supremacist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory which posits that white Americans are being deliberately replaced with immigrants of color.
In a May 20, 2022 article, Natural News contributor JD Heyes wrote that the goal of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was the “literal replacement of the native-born, largely white population” and asked, “If the objective isn’t to replace the native-born, largely-white population, then what is the point of enabling mass migration into the country?”
In a Dec. 24, 2022 article, contributor Ethan Huff wrote that the “result of all this multiculturalism is a phase-out of not just white people but also Christianity.” The article was titled “Great Britain becomes Great REPLACEMENT as forced Islamization reaches point of no return”
In a Feb. 23, 2023 video — titled “We the People are being exterminated and REPLACED by a flood of migrants” — Mike Adams interviewed conspiracy theorist and ex-Green Beret Michael Yon about the “Great Replacement.”
Yon told Adams that the Chinese Communist Party (or CCP) “has been at war — an open war — with the United States,” and claimed that Chinese soldiers are traveling through the Darién Gap. He also asserted that the U.S. government is “openly facilitating this.”
Yon blamed DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and recounted that last year Mayorkas traveled to a migrant camp in San Vicente. Adams asked if Mayorkas traveled there to “oversee his success in his plot to replace the American people.” “Success and increase the flow,” Yon replied.
Adams also connected migrants crossing the Southern border to his anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.
“[T]here are about 7,500 Americans each day who are killed or disabled, i.e. taken out of the workforce, based on the vaccines,” he said. “So, 7,500 Americans per day — boom — gone, and then a thousand plus per day coming in to replace. I mean, am I exaggerating? Is that my imagination? Or are we being replaced?”
Yon told Adams that it’s “clear replacement strategy” and that it’s also occurring in Europe.
This is far from the only time Adams and his website have promoted bigoted content. In 2019, for example, Adams included an antisemitic cartoon in an anti-vaccine video called “VACCINE RAGE explains why the world is going insane.” The cartoon depicts a caricature of a Jewish man vaccinating a small child:
The cartoon, titled “Immunization,” was originally published in the Nazi propaganda outfit Der Stürmer. In Adams’ video the cartoon is darkened and cropped in such a way that it removed the caption at the bottom which reads “It occurs to me that little good comes from poison or from Jews”:
Natural News has also republished stories by white nationalists or cited them in its own work.
JD Heyes’ article about the “Great Replacement” cited The Daily Veracity, a website founded by white nationalist and antisemite Vincent James Foxx. On July 1, 2021, Natural News republished an anti-critical race theory article written by white nationalist Scott Greer. And on Aug. 3, 2022, it republished an article by the white nationalist website VDARE.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Sympathizes with Election Deniers
During his May 9, 2023 appearance on Mike Adams’ show, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. made statements sympathetic to right-wing conspiracy theorists who believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Kennedy made it clear that he did not agree with their belief, but defended them from charges that they are “unpatriotic.”
Kennedy also compared the unfounded belief that the 2020 election was stolen to criticisms of the 2000 presidential election and the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bush v. Gore.
“One of the points that I’ve made is we’re living through a time when everybody is — from both parties — are worried about the integrity of our democratic process. In 2001 most Democrats in this country believed that the election was stolen by George Bush from Al Gore,” Kennedy said.
He pointed out that in 2005 he wrote an article for Rolling Stone “that showed how manipulation of the vote through the voting machines in six Ohio counties had stolen the election from John Kerry.”
“We can’t say that it’s off limits to criticize the integrity of our electoral process,” he said.
“We have to acknowledge there’s problems with the electoral process and the possibility that elections get stolen is out there. People aren’t crazy when they say that. And as you know there’s a large number of Americans who went to Capitol Hill and engaged in the January 6 demonstrations, you know with violence and everything else because they believe that our elections would be stolen.”
Kennedy said the “response to that should not be ‘Oh, you’re unpatriotic, you’re un-American’ for saying that elections can be stolen.” He added that elections “can be manipulated” and that “we need to fix that.” Kennedy expressed support for “machine counting systems” and “paper ballots” to assure people that election results are sound.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Wants to Prosecute Officials Who ‘Lied’ About COVID, and Calls the Number of Children With Autism a ‘Much Worse Threat Than COVID’
Toward the end of the interview, Mike Adams asked Kennedy about his support for “criminal investigations into some of the actors responsible for gain of function research, the funding of what appear to be illegal programs, [and] perhaps malfeasance on a part of the FDA.”
“Gain of function” refers to the process by which scientists “change a specific part of [an organism] and then observe the effects” as Seema Lakdawala and Anice Lowen wrote for The Conversation. The changes “sometimes result in the organism’s gaining a function it didn’t have before or losing a function it once had.”
However, in the context of COVID-19, right-wing figures who believe the virus escaped from a lab have likewise claimed that the National Institutes of Health funded gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology — a claim denied by Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
In a Twitter thread criticizing Dr. Fauci and other public health officials, Kennedy vowed to “direct my attorney general to investigate and prosecute every person who knowingly defrauded or deceived the American public about the safety and efficacy of medical products.”
He reiterated this plan during his conversation with Adams, stating that, “People who lied to the American public should be prosecuted. People who defrauded the American public should be prosecuted. People who were injured by these products should be compensated. And the entire field of gain of function study should probably be shut down altogether.”
Kennedy also pledged to “shift funding from virology and infectious disease” and “direct NIH to direct its funding instead to studying chronic disease.”
“The fact that we’ve got millions of kid[s] — 1 out of every 34 kids now has autism in our country is a much worse threat than COVID ever was,” he told Adams. According to the CDC, COVID-19 has caused over 1.1 million deaths in the U.S. alone.
“These are young kids at the beginning of their lives and we’re ignoring that. The big problem,” Kennedy said. He also suggested looking into autoimmune diseases, allergies, and “all the neurological diseases that have a generation of kids hooked on Adderall and SRIs.”
“We need to find out what’s wrong with our kids and we need to put an end to it.”