House Democrats attempted to prevent President Joe Biden’s Democrat primary rival Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from giving public testimony during a hearing investigating government censorship.
Kennedy was among witnesses who testified Thursday to the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government about collusion between the federal government and Big Tech companies to block speech.
Early on, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., cited House Rule 11, Clause 2, “which Mr. Kennedy is violative of,” she said.
“I move that we move into executive session because Mr. Kennedy has repeatedly made despicable antisemitic and anti-Asian comments as recently as last week,” said Wasserman Schultz, whose run as former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee came to a controversial end after WikiLeaks emails appeared to show DNC staffers tried to tip the scales against the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and in favor of eventual nominee Hillary Clinton.
House Rule 11, Clause 2 requires any House witness with testimony that would “defame, degrade or incriminate any person” to be given in closed session, out of public view.
During his testimony, Kennedy insisted his remarks were mischaracterized.
“In my entire life, I have never uttered a phrase that was either racist or antisemitic,” Kennedy told the House panel.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., asked to table the Wasserman Schultz motion, and she responded by asking for a roll call vote.
All Republicans on the select subcommittee backed Massie in voting against going into closed session for Kennedy’s testimony. All Democrats voted in favor of Wasserman Schultz.
Wasserman Schultz said it was voting against “allowing a witness to degrade others and to violate the rules and not have his testimony and degradation amplified rather than given in executive session.”
Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., said he was voting, “No to hate speech.”
Last week, Kennedy suggested that COVID-19 could have been a deliberate bioweapon from the Chinese, and said: “COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”
Kennedy, the son of former Attorney General and New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, is challenging Biden for the Democrat presidential nomination
“I was censored, not just by a Democratic administration, I was censored by the Trump administration,” Kennedy said during the House hearing. “I was the first person, as the chairman [Jim Jordan, R-Ohio] pointed out, I was the first person censored by the Biden administration two days after he came into office.”
Massie noted “irony and cognitive dissonance from the other side of the aisle is deafening.”
“This is a hearing on censorship that began with an effort with a formal motion from the other side of the aisle to censor Mr. Kennedy,” Massie said. “They do not want him to speak. Yet that is the topic of this hearing. They have kept him from speaking, the collusion between government and private organizations.”
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