Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Touts Conspiracy Theories, Freedom of Speech in Elon Musk Interview: ‘You Shouldn’t Be Shutting Me Up’

The Democratic presidential candidate, who is polling second to Biden, sounds more like a conservative on issues of free speech and personal health

Robert Kennedy Jr. with wife Cheryl Hines (Credit: John Sciulli/Getty Images)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. touted anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and emphasized the need for freedom of speech in a wide-ranging interview with Elon Musk, hosted Monday via Twitter Spaces.

“I don’t ever need to talk about vaccines again,” Kennedy said, noting that his social media accounts, previously banned for promoting anti-vaccine rhetoric, were reinstated Sunday by Instagram and Facebook parent Meta. He added, though: “If someone asks me about them, I’m going to tell the truth. I know a lot about the issue. If you ask me [about vaccines], you shouldn’t be shutting me up when I’m answering the question.”

The sit-down with Twitter owner Musk came midday Monday as Kennedy, polling second only to President Joe Biden for the 2024 Democratic ticket, forged ahead with his long shot presidential bid. In it, he praised Musk as “a key instrument for rescuing American democracy and freedom of speech.”

The 69-year-old politician also said he thought governmental policies during the pandemic were too restrictive and that personal choice should have been better accommodated. There, Kennedy and Musk remained like-minded, as Musk also opposed strict social distancing and the shutting down of churches.

Unlike the previous Twitter Spaces town hall with Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis, Kennedy’s appearance was largely glitch-free.

Pivoting to Ukraine’s war with Russia, Kennedy said the United States should have done a better job diplomatically to dissuade a Russian invasion of the nation by agreeing that Ukraine would not become a member of NATO. He also said more needs to be done about crowds of immigrants gathering at the southern U.S. border. 

Kennedy noted that his campaign will focus heavily on problems like “the destruction of the American middle class, the appropriation of our foreign policy by neo-cons, the appropriation of our domestic policy by Wall Street and the big corporate dictators.” Relatedly, he said the federal government has to stop “the capture of our agencies by the industries they’re supposed to regulate.”

In matters of climate change, Musk and Kennedy agreed that the United States should pursue “rational” energy policies that would include renewable sources like wind and solar energy. “There is no simple solution to energy,” Kennedy said. “We have to analyze the real costs of every energy system to make a rational choice.”

Pro surfing legend Kelly Slater later dropped into the Spaces conversation like it was a barrel ride at Mavericks Beach. Slater, an 11-time world champion who also drew fire during the pandemic for his anti-vaccine stance, praised Kennedy for “reaching across the table” and including a wide range of philosophies in his campaign. He said he likes Kennedy’s “transparency and honesty.” 

“It’s really refreshing in this political environment,” Slater said, adding that he hopes Kennedy can get past the vaccine debate so voters can “hear your broader message.”