FLASHBACK: RFK Jr. Once Called For Jailing ‘Climate Deniers,’ Punishing Political Opponents

(Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Although Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has endeared himself to some on the right for his opposition to vaccines and government censorship, he has in the past supported jailing people who dissent from the dominant view on climate change.

Kennedy, who is polling at 14.6% in the RealClearPolitics average, will appear on Thursday before the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government for a hearing on big tech censorship. In addition to his criticisms of the COVID-19 vaccines, Kennedy has filed lawsuits premised on the debunked claims that vaccines cause autism. The Facebook and Instagram accounts for Kennedy’s nonprofit, the Children’s Defense Fund, were suspended in August 2022.

Despite Kennedy’s recent claims of standing against government censorship, he has in the past called for conservative opponents of top-down responses to climate change to be jailed. During an interview at the 2014 People’s Climate March, he said that “treasonous” billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch “should be enjoying three hots and a cot at The Hague with all the other war criminals.” In the same interview, Kennedy said that he “wish[ed] there was a law you could punish them [politicians who disagreed with him] under.”

“Do I think the Koch brothers should be prosecuted for reckless endangerment? Absolutely. That’s a criminal offense and they ought to be serving time for it,” he added. (RELATED: YouTube Censors Presidential Candidate RFK Jr. Interview With Jordan Peterson)

Kennedy subsequently addressed the comments in a 2014 post on the site EcoWatch, asserting that he “support[ed] the First Amendment.” He also said that “corporations which deliberately, purposefully, maliciously and systematically sponsor climate lies should be given the death penalty” and have their charters revoked.

Kennedy’s campaign did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment on whether he still maintains those positions. In a June interview with ReasonTV, Kennedy said that he was referring to a case where Koch Carbon had been dumping petroleum coke in piles along the Detroit River. He added that he does not currently believe that any organization that takes money from climate skeptics should receive the “corporate death penalty” and that he would not have made those statements in light of the censorship around the recent COVID-19 crisis.

Although Kennedy is running in the Democratic presidential primary, he has received praise from GOP candidates Donald Trump and Vivek Ramaswamy, the latter of whom has suggested he could pick Kennedy as his vice president. Kennedy has also appeared extensively in conservative-leaning media, including Jordan Peterson’s podcast, which is distributed by the Daily Wire, and on Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Kennedy’s campaign has raised more than $6.3 million since he declared in April. Of the 104 donors who gave more than $6,000 to his campaign, 39% had previously given to Republicans, and 30% had only given to Republicans, ABC News found. Twenty-three percent of Kennedy’s top donors had only given to Democrats in the past, while 65% had never previously given to Democrats.