Friday, April 5, 2024

Kennedy Issues A Statement On January 6 Capital Attack


Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

On Friday, Independent Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. issued a statement to "clarify his views," as his campaign termed it, on the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capital by supporters of then-President Donald J. Trump.

In the interest of reading it as it is intended by Mr. Kennedy, there will not be any summation here, but his statement presented in full:

"January 6 is one of the most polarizing topics on the political landscape. I am listening to people of diverse viewpoints on it in order to make sense of the event and what followed. I want to hear every side.

It is quite clear that many of the January 6 protesters broke the law in what may have started as a protest but turned into a riot. Because it happened with the encouragement of President Trump, and in the context of his delusion that the election was stolen from him, many people see it not as a riot but as an insurrection.

I have not examined the evidence in detail, but reasonable people, including Trump opponents, tell me there is little evidence of a true insurrection. They observe that the protesters carried no weapons, had no plans or ability to seize the reins of government, and that Trump himself had urged them to protest 'peacefully.'

Like many reasonable Americans, I am concerned about the possibility that political objectives motivated the vigor of the prosecution of the J6 defendants, their long sentences, and their harsh treatment. That would fit a disturbing pattern of the weaponization of government agencies - the DoJ, the IRS, the SEC, the FBI, etc. - against political opponents.

One can, as I do, oppose Donald Trump and all he stands for, and still be disturbed by the weaponization of government against him.

As President, I will appoint a special counsel - an individual respected by all sides - to investigate whether prosecutorial discretion was abused for political ends in this case, and I will right any wrongs that we discover. Without the impartial rule of law, there is no true democracy or moral governance. That's why John Adams, a staunch patriot, defended the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre in court. If we betray justice in pursuit of an ideal, that betrayal will corrupt anything we accomplish.

Both establishment parties are using J6 to pour fuel on the fire of America's divisions. Each side claims that a victory by their opponents marks the end of democracy. Then, anything is justified to stop them. We run the risk of destroying democracy in order to save it.

Instead of demonizing our opponents as apocalyptic threats to democracy, let's focus on the issues and priorities of how they will govern, and defeat them at the ballot box rather than through legal maneuvers and dirty tricks. Presidents Trump and Biden both presided over the continued worsening of our national debt, chronic disease epidemic, government corruption, erosion of civil liberties, and foreign military entanglements. Maybe it is because the establishment parties differ very little on these key issues that they campaign on the demonization of their opponents and all who support them instead." 

UPDATE: Kennedy's campaign released this addendum later Friday: "The statement that 'the protesters had no weapons' was retracted from this press release. Mr. Kennedy explained: 'My understanding that none of the January 6 rioters who invaded the capitol were carrying firearms was incorrect. Several have been convicted of carrying firearms into the Capitol building. Others assaulted Capitol police with pepper spray, bludgeons, and other makeshift weapons.

"This behavior is inexcusable. I have never minimized or dismissed the seriousness of the riot or any crime committed on that day. My hope is to move the country away from the issues that divide us and focus on common ground and a path for rebuilding trust in each other and hope for an American future."

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