Robert F Kennedy Jr promises to not ‘take sides’ with respect to 9/11 if elected president

Robert F Kennedy Jr has made a startling pledge to not “take sides” with respect to the September 11 terrorist attacks if his long-shot presidential campaign vaults him to the White House.

“My take on 9/11: It’s hard to tell what is a conspiracy theory and what isn’t. But conspiracy theories flourish when the government routinely lies to the public,” Kennedy wrote on Friday in a post on X in reference to the deadliest terrorist attack ever aimed at the US. “As president I won’t take sides on 9/11 or any of the other debates.

“But I can promise … that I will open the files and usher in a new era of transparency.”

The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people in 2001 after terrorists hijacked and crashed passenger planes into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon in Washington DC and a field in Pennsylvania.

Kennedy’s decision to revisit one of the most traumatic subjects in American history came just three days after the noted conspiracy theorist responded to an allegation that he sexually assaulted a babysitter previously in his employ by saying: “I’m not a church boy” and “I am who I am.”

That allegation – reported in Vanity Fair – came amid growing scrutiny of his independent run for president, which has fueled worries among Democrats and Republicans that he could decide November’s election by pulling votes away from Joe Biden, Donald Trump or both in key states.

Friday’s statement on X was not the first time Kennedy had expressed dubiousness about the US’s official account of 9/11. In a podcast interview in September, he refused to say al-Qaida carried out the attacks – as the terrorist organization acknowledged and investigators determined long ago.

Kennedy wrote on Friday that he was prompted to speak out by a recent report from the CBS news program 60 Minutes which chronicled how a man identified by the FBI as a Saudi intelligence agent filmed locations in the center of Washington just three months before 9/11.

A court action from family members of September 11 victims, who contend that the Saudi government was complicit in the terrorist attacks, brought the footage to light. Saudi rulers deny the victims’ families’ claims.

For his part, Kennedy on Friday described himself as “agnostic” concerning 9/11, so-called UFOs “and other contentious topics”.

“My issue is transparency,” Kennedy added in a related follow-up post on X.

Kennedy is polling at less than 10% of the national vote and is highly unlikely to win the presidency, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average.

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His relation to his father, Robert F Kennedy – the New York senator who was assassinated in 1968 – and uncle John F Kennedy, who was president at the time of his 1963 assassination, has afforded his campaign attention. So has his marriage to actor and comedian Cheryl Hines.

In addition to his 9/11 skepticism, peddling falsehoods about Covid-19 and vaccine safety has seemingly undermined Kennedy’s effort to attract wider support. And so have outlandish claims such as linking antidepressants to school shootings and asserting that certain chemicals in water make children transgender.

The 27 June presidential debate – marked by a calamitous Biden performance that left his party in a panic as well as Trump’s rapid-fire delivery of lies and half-truths – did little to improve Kennedy’s standing.

A recent HarrisX/Forbes poll found a paltry 18% of voters were more likely to vote for a third-party candidate after the debate.

“Whatever shaking of the box happened with the debate, these voters aren’t really yet thinking about RFK Jr or any of the third-party candidates,” HarrisX chief executive officer Dritan Nesho later said. “None of the tickets are prominent enough at this stage to be able to capture a good share of vote – at least that’s what we’re seeing in polls right now.”

The Guardian