Anti-Vaxxers Join Forces for 2024

rfk jr hires bigtree

A top anti-vaxxer has taken over Robert Kennedy Jr.’s campaign communications shop — underscoring the fringe, anti-science thrust of the independent candidate’s presidential bid.

Del Bigtree leads the conspiratorial, anti-vaccine Informed Consent Action Network, which alleges (against substantial scientific evidence) that childhood vaccines cause autism, and that myriad vaccines — from chicken pox to Covid jabs — “should never have been licensed.” Bigtree is also the producer of a controversial, 2016 vaccine-alarmist “documentary” Vaxxed.

Bigtree and Kennedy have long swum in the same anti-science waters; ICAN is the second-best funded anti-vaccine nonprofit, trailing only Children’s Health Defense, which Kennedy led for years before embarking on his campaign for the White House. On New Year’s Eve, Bigtree announced he has taken the role of Director of Communications for the Kennedy campaign, calling the post “my greatest opportunity to date.”

In a open letter, riven with conspiratorial thinking, Bigtree describes his new job as a calling, and he likens Kennedy to a gift from heaven: “In order to stop the globalist’s New World Order, we need a miracle,” Bigtree writes, “I believe Bobby is that miracle.”

Bigtree’s letter presumes that readers concur with a tangled backstory of falsehoods, including that John D. Rockefeller historically decided to “seize control of humanity through the regulation of medicine,” that Covid-19 is just “a cold virus,” and that the public-health response to the coronavirus pandemic was a false front waged by the “dark forces of medical tyranny” that deemed that “God’s air” should be “illegal to breathe.” Bigtree also promotes the false assertions that the Covid vaccines have made “heart attacks in children… now commonplace” and that the jabs themselves have “proven to have negative efficacy.”

Conspiratorially, Bigtree positions the Kennedy campaign as a counterweight to what he lambastes as a “globalist empire,” one that “seeks dominion over the world” through such international arms as the World Health Organization, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations. Bigtree’s letter is also a solicitation: He implores would-be donors to send the campaign a “minimum” of $1,000 — funds that he writes will “allow me to start making messages for television so everyone can hear the truth.”

Kennedy initially began his campaign for president as a Democrat. But his new communications chief has a media diet that features a telling tilt toward right-wingers and Republicans. Bigtree follows fewer than 100 people on Twitter, among them Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, father-and-son libertarians Ron and Rand Paul, and conspiratorial media personalities including Alex Jones and Candace Owens.

The appointment of Bigtree marks a full reversal for Kennedy, who had made untenable claims last summer that he is not an anti-vaxxer. It also signals that conspiratorial thinking — including about 9/11 and the supposed ethnic targeting of the coronavirus — is a feature, not a bug of the independent’s campaign.


Despite — or perhaps because of — his red-pilled beliefs, Kennedy is positioned to play a disruptive role in the 2024 campaign. As many as 20 percent of Americans are considering casting a vote for the scion of the Kennedy clan, although December polling by Monmouth suggests he is currently drawing support evenly from voters who would otherwise back president Biden and former president Trump.

“At the current time,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, “he appears to be more of a placeholder,” for marking “generalized dissatisfaction with the likely trajectory of the 2024 nomination process.”

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