“Trump Denies Elections and Praises Rioters, but R.F.K. Jr. Says It’s Biden Who Threatens Democracy”


Former President Donald J. Trump has refused to accept his loss in the 2020 election, painted as martyrs the supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, laid groundwork to deny the 2024 election results if he loses, and said he would be a dictator on his first day back in office if he wins.

But according to the independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., it is President Biden who poses the greater threat to American democracy — a view that Mr. Kennedy shares with Mr. Trump himself, and that democracy experts called “absurd” and “preposterous.”

Such a perspective is possible because Mr. Kennedy, who has founded his political career on promoting vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories about the government, sees the Biden administration’s efforts to curtail the spread of misinformation as a seminal issue of our time. Censorship, as he calls it, overpowers all other concerns about the political system.

Mr. Kennedy’s stance drew fresh scrutiny this week after he said in an interview on CNN, “Listen, I can make the argument that President Biden is a much worse threat to democracy, and the reason for that is President Biden is the first candidate in history, the first president in history that has used the federal agencies to censor political speech, to censor his opponent.” He repeated himself on Fox News on Tuesday, saying that a president like Mr. Biden was “a genuine threat to our democracy.”

The remarks by Mr. Kennedy, who carries the name but not the support of a storied Democratic family, were an escalation of his attacks on Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party — and he quickly backtracked, saying in an interview with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation on Tuesday night that he had been misunderstood. “What I said was that I could make this argument. I didn’t say definitively whether I believed one or the other was more dangerous to democracy. I did say that I don’t believe either of them are going to destroy democracy.”

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