RFK Jr. hires Del Bigtree, top anti-vaccine activist, as campaign communications director

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. hired Del Bigtree, who leads ICAN, a top anti-vaccine organization, as his presidential campaign's communications director.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s long-shot presidential campaign has a new communications director — prominent anti-vaccine activist Del Bigtree. In a letter to supporters, Bigtree called the appointment “my greatest opportunity to date.”

In speeches and interviews, Kennedy has credited the anti-vaccine movement with powering his candidacy and vowed as president to halt research into infectious diseases and use the power of the attorney general to threaten editors of medical journals over publishing research on Covid treatments and vaccines. 

Bigtree is the executive director of the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), the country’s second-best-funded anti-vaccine organization, after Children’s Health Defense, the group from which Kennedy stepped down as chairman in April so he could run for president. The pandemic was a boon for both organizations. In addition, Bigtree hosts “The HighWire,” an anti-vaccine and conspiracism internet show.

Del Bigtree speaks at a rally at the state Capitol in Albany, N.Y., on May 14, 2019.Hans Pennink / AP fileAnnouncing his new role, Bigtree released a letter rife with misinformation alleging that the Covid vaccines were responsible for widespread injury and death. Bigtree called for his supporters to “stop the globalist’s New World Order” and unite across the political spectrum under the banner of “medical freedom.” Bigtree also solicited $1,000 donations from supporters to join a “health think tank,” funds that he said would go toward creating television ads. 

Recent polling shows Kennedy with high favorability ratings for a third-party candidate. In hypothetical matchups that include President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, Kennedy collects a sizable share of voters who view the major candidates negatively, even though his views on vaccines are not aligned with those of most Americans.


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