RFK Jr. campaign backtracks after calling Jan. 6 rioters "activists"

Los Angeles, California - Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his campaign are now backtracking after their praise of the January 6 Capitol rioters garnered massive criticism.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his presidential campaign are backpedaling after a recent fundraising email praising January 6 rioters sparked backlash.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his presidential campaign are backpedaling after a recent fundraising email praising January 6 rioters sparked backlash.  © MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

According to NBC News, the campaign for RFK sent out an email to supporters on Thursday, sharing their support for the exoneration of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange is serving time in the UK for an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defense information.

The email hails Assange as a "political prisoner," and goes on to compare him to figures they believe also deserve that title.

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"This is the reality that every American Citizen faces – from Ed Snowden, to Julian Assange to the J6 activists sitting in a Washington DC jail cell stripped of their Constitutional liberties," the campaign stated.

"Please help our campaign call out the illiberal actions of our very own government."

Hours after the release of the email, campaign spokesperson Stephanie Spear claimed in a statement that it was sent in "error" after it was "inserted by a new marketing contractor and slipped through the normal approval process."

The email was quickly met with backlash as critics pointed out the similarities to Donald Trump and other MAGA Republican's framing of the attacks as "peaceful" and the rioters as "patriots."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. issues personal statement regarding the email blast

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to the media at an event in Los Angeles, California on March 30, 2024.
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to the media at an event in Los Angeles, California on March 30, 2024.  © MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Following the backlash, Kennedy released a personal statement in which he explained that he has been "listening to people of diverse viewpoints" in an effort to "hear every side."

"It is quite clear that many of the January 6 protestors broke the law in what may have started as a protest, but turned into a riot," Kennedy explained.

"Because it happened with the encouragement of President Trump, and in the context of his delusion that the election was stolen from him, many people see it not as a riot but as an insurrection."

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He continued, "I have not examined the evidence in detail, but reasonable people, including Trump opponents, tell me there is little evidence of a true insurrection. They observe that the protestors carried no weapons, had no plans or ability to seize the reins of government, and that Trump himself had urged them to protest 'peacefully.'"

RFK went on to suggest "the possibility that political objectives motivated the vigor" of the rioters' prosecution, and vowed to appoint a special counsel if elected to investigate whether "the weaponization of government" was used against them.

Cover photo: MARIO TAMA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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