RFK Jr. Attacks Trump at Libertarian Convention for Violating Constitutional Rights During Covid 

‘With the lockdowns, the mask mandates, the travel restrictions, President Trump presided over the greatest restriction on individual liberties this country has ever known,’ Mr. Kennedy said.

Caroline McCaughey
Independent Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Addresses the Libertarian Convention at Washington on May 24, 2024. Caroline McCaughey

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. used his speech at the Libertarian Party convention Friday to attack President Trump for restricting Americans’ constitutional rights during the Covid pandemic.

In so doing, Mr. Kennedy shot an arrow in Mr. Trump’s Achilles heel with the liberty vote: his administration’s response to Covid. This comes as President Trump is slated to speak at the Libertarian convention Saturday. Both men are vying for libertarian votes that could help decide the election in key swing states. 

The stakes are high: Mr. Trump lost to President Biden in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin in 2020 by fewer votes than those cast in those states for the Libertarian presidential candidate, Joe Jorgenson. Those states were critical to Mr. Biden’s victory. 

Mr. Kennedy started his speech at the Hilton at Washington DC by talking about the Bill of Rights and saying that Mr. Trump had “the right instincts” when he came into office but was “steamrolled” by the swamp of bureaucrats he had promised to drain. 

President Trump signed an executive order at the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit on December 08, 2020 in Washington, DC. The president signed an executive order stating the US would provide vaccines to Americans before aiding other nations. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

“Maybe a brain worm ate that part of my memory,” Mr. Kennedy joked, “I don’t recall any part of the United States Constitution where there’s an exception for pandemics.”

He detailed how Mr. Trump’s pandemic policies violated each amendment of the Bill of Rights, except the Second Amendment — “And many Americans believe that the reason for that is that we have a Second Amendment,” Mr. Kennedy said to applause.

“With the lockdowns, the mask mandates, the travel restrictions, President Trump presided over the greatest restriction on individual liberties this country has ever known,” Mr. Kennedy said.

Independent Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to attendees during a campaign rally at Brazos Hall on May 13, 2024 at Austin, Texas. Kennedy and his running mate Nicole Shanahan, a Silicon Valley millionaire, rallied with supporters as they continue campaigning across the country for presidency ahead of the November 5, 2024 general election. Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Mr. Trump and President Biden are taking third-party challengers seriously this election. Mr. Kennedy is mounting the most formidable third-party challenge since Ross Perot, polling on average at 12 percent.

Mr. Kennedy has courted the libertarian vote since he jumped in the presidential race as a Democrat more than a year ago. He then flirted with seeking the Libertarian presidential nomination until he ruled it out last month. He knows how to appeal to libertarian audiences. He promised to pardon Edward Snowden and drop all charges against Julian Assange, whom the U.S. is currently trying to have extradited from the U.K. 

“Assange should be celebrated as a hero,” Mr. Kennedy said to a standing ovation and chants of “free Assange” from the crowd.

Except for a few audience chants of “free Palestine,” the crowd was generally receptive of Mr. Kennedy. Several Libertarian Party members in the audience told the Sun they appreciated that Messrs. Kennedy and Trump were traveling to them and putting attention on the party.

Dan O’Connell, a Libertarian Party member. Caroline McCaughey

“It obviously raises the profile of the Libertarian Party, which I’m in favor of,” a libertarian in the audience, Dan O’Connell, told the Sun, pointing to the risers in the back filled with press and television cameras.

“Would you be here if he wasn’t here?” a Libertarian vice-presidential candidate, Larry Sharpe, asked the Sun. “I think we have the opportunity to show people how cool we are.”

A Maine state senator and executive director of the Free State Project, Eric Brakey, told the Sun he’s open to giving Mr. Kennedy a chance. “I am genuinely undecided in the presidential race. There are no Ron Paul’s running so I feel like all the candidates are deeply flawed,” he said.

Others, though, were less sanguine about the Libertarian Party inviting outside candidates to suck up the attention, the limelight, and maybe some votes. “I would rather our time be spent promoting the Libertarian Party and promoting Libertarian candidates at a libertarian convention,” a member of the Libertarian party’s Radical Caucus, Jim Fulner, told the Sun.

The New York Sun

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