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Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) moved to shift the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government hearing on Thursday to executive session “because Mr. Kennedy has repeatedly made despicable anti-Semitic and anti-Asian comments as recently as last week.”
The congresswoman cited a House rule against testimony that may tend to “defame, degrade, or incriminate” any person, which would allow the committee an aside to determine whether to allow the testimony at issue during the open hearing. In making her case, Wasserman Schultz cited, “among many other things,” comments Kennedy recently made about COVID-19, which the candidate says has been misconstrued.
“COVID-19, there is an argument that it is ethnically targeted. COVID-19 attacks certain races disproportionately,” Kennedy claimed, according to The New York Post. “COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz Has Just Put a Motion Forward to Censor Robert F. Kennedy Jr from Further Testimony
This is wild… pic.twitter.com/buNN8NeKCj
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) July 20, 2023
A vote ensued after Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) moved to table the motion, and another Republican, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), made a point of order to ask, “Is it the custom of this committee to censor viewpoints that we disagree with from witnesses?”
By a 10-8 vote, the GOP majority’s motion to table succeeded, allowing the hearing to continue as planned. Massie, when he voted in favor of proceeding, said he was a “yes, to not censor.” Some Democrats also tacked on comments to their vote, including Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), who said, “No to the Soviet Politburo,” and Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY), who said, “No to hate speech.”
Kennedy, who has reached up to roughly 19% support in 2024 Democratic Party primary polling, delivered an opening statement in which he insisted that he has “never uttered a phrase that was either racist or anti-Semitic.”
The witness held up a letter signed by 102 Democrats, including Wasserman Schultz and Goldman — who are two Jewish members of Congress — calling on Republicans to disinvite Kennedy from testifying at the hearing on censorship.
“This itself is evidence of the problem that this hearing was convened to address. This is an attempt to censor a censorship hearing,” he said.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gives his opening statement on Censorship before the select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. pic.twitter.com/xpp2QZ6Tt4
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) July 20, 2023
The hearing, led by Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), was convened to “examine the federal government’s role in censoring Americans, the Missouri v. Biden case, and Big Tech’s collusion with out-of-control government agencies to silence speech” according to the Weaponization panel.
The two other witnesses at the hearing were Breitbart News Politics Editor Emma-Jo Morris and D. John Sauer, special assistant attorney general at the Louisiana Department of Justice.