NEW YORK (WTRF) — Democratic Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a political disrupter who has overcome personal tragedies and private struggles. He holds controversial ideas about the assassinations of his father, Robert F. Kennedy, and uncle, President John F. Kennedy.
Was the C.I.A. involved in the Kennedy family murders?
His uncle was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963 when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was nine years old, and he was just fourteen when his father was murdered five years later on June 6, 1968. His father was vying for the Democratic nomination for president at the time.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. asserts that the Central Intelligence Agency, C.I.A., was involved in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and says the agency covered up facts about the case for decades, as he told The New Yorker in interview published July 7, 2023.
In fact, he claims the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination from 1963 to 1964, is incorrect in its determination that Lee Harvey Oswald alone fired the shots that killed President Kennedy and severely wounded Texas Governor John Connally as they rode in a convertible limousine in Dallas.
Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby just two days after President Kennedy’s murder. Ruby had ties to organized crime in Dallas going back to 1947 and was “friendly with numerous underworld figures,” according to The Warren Commission Report. The Warren Commission also determined there was no conspiracy involving Oswald or Ruby.
Still, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says he could prove in court that the C.I.A. was responsible for President Kennedy’s death.
“I don’t think anybody who has looked at my uncle’s murder seriously believes that the Warren Commission was correct. I’m a trial lawyer. I’ve tried hundreds of cases. I can guarantee you, looking at this case, that I could prove that my uncle’s death was caused by the C.I.A. I have enough evidence right now, without any depositions, to go to prove that my uncle’s death was the result of a conspiracy. And that the C.I.A. was involved—not only in the original conspiracy but in the sixty-year coverup—and continues to maintain the coverup.”Robert F. Kennedy Jr., The New Yorker interview published July 7, 2023
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. claims the C.I.A.’s anger at his uncle sparked the murder plot.
“They were angry at my uncle. Their initial anger came when he failed to invade the Bay of Pigs and provide air cover for [Cuban opponents of Fidel Castro], which they consider a betrayal. They had trained those men. Those men were dying on the beach. At that point, they believed that my uncle was a traitor to the United States. When my uncle and my father halted the raids on Cuba, after the missile crisis, they agreed as part of their agreement with Khrushchev during the missile crisis, to halt the raids from Miami by Alpha 66 and the other groups that were going into Cuba to halt them . . .”Robert F. Kennedy Jr., The New Yorker interview published July 7, 2023
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says there is “overwhelming” evidence that the CIA was involved in his uncle’s murder, but says their involvement in his father’s death “is circumstantial, but very highly suggestive,” as he told The New Yorker.
Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian immigrant, admitted at his 1969 trial that he shot Robert F. Kennedy, but Robert F. Kennedy Jr. disagrees and has even advocated for Sirhan Sirhan’s parole, according to The Washington Post.
One autopsy report from the time claims Kennedy “was shot at point-blank range from behind, including a fatal shot behind his ear,” according to The Washington Post.
Kennedy cited numerous factors in his father’s death including “a second gunman, stray bullets, and a mob lawyer whose body was later found ‘chopped up in a hundred pieces in an oil drum,” according to The New Yorker.
Was Robert F. Kennedy Jr. a drug addict?
Apart from the family tragedies he faced, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. also overcame personal struggles. He was kicked out of schools, arrested for marijuana possession and became addicted to heroin, he tells The New Yorker. Despite these challenges he graduated from Harvard and the University of Virginia Law School and became a lawyer.
“I was a heroin addict for fourteen years. I’m lucky to be alive. People have plenty of reason to write me off forever because of the way I conducted my life during that fourteen-year period. And, when I was at Riverkeeper, I made a point of hiring people who were felons, who were convicted, who had served their time in prison. And that divided the organization. I believe in redemption. I don’t think we can dismiss human beings, no matter what they did earlier on in their lives. Everybody gets another chance. And what Jesus said is, ‘Not only do you give them seven chances, but you give them seven times seven chances.'”Robert F. Kennedy Jr., The New Yorker interview published July 7, 2023
What is wrong with Robert F. Kennedy’s voice?
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. also has a medical voice condition called spasmodic dysphonia according to The Washington Examiner. According to Dysphonia International, this is a chronic neurological voice disorder that causes the voice to appear breathy with “breaks and strained/strangled quality.” The muscles that produce the sound of the voice can spasm.
He was diagnosed in his 40s, according to News Nation, and told the audience at the network’s June town hall that even he has difficulty hearing his own voice.
“I think it makes it problematical for people to listen to me. I cannot listen to myself on TV. … I feel sorry for you guys having to listen to me.”Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at News Nation town hall, June 28, 2023
What are Kennedy’s values and views on censorship?
Philosophically, Kennedy says he has the same core values as his father and uncle and is willing to to talk to people who do no share his views, according to The New Yorker. He is concerned about censorship of differing viewpoints and some people’s unwillingness to hear dialogue that opposes what they think.
“I think it’s toxic. It’s created a polarization, a division, in this country that is more dangerous than at any time since the American Civil War. I’m not a cancel-culture guy.”Robert F. Kennedy Jr., The New Yorker interview published July 7, 2023
He told The New Yorker he has been deplatformed from social media sites and that The White House ordered social media sites to censor him
Kennedy tells The New Yorker that he voted for Joe Biden, but would approach the Ukraine war and other issues differently. He says he would end the war and negotiate peace in Ukraine.
Has Kennedy redeemed himself?
Although Robert F. Kennedy’s views have been attacked as controversial or even conspiratorial, he has overcome adversities and is honest about his past. He says he believes in redemption and has made his mark on the world. He has advocated for the incarcerated, the environment and children’s health, according to this campaign website. He is the father of six children and is married to actress Cheryl Hines.