This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
The Republicans' gloves are off regarding Democrat-turned-Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s 2024 presidential candidacy, and if Sean Hannity's Tuesday interview with RFK is any indication, their new theme song might be: "The Thrill is Gone," by blues legend B.B. King.
With some polls showing Kennedy could hurt Trump more than Biden in a potential three-way race, what is also "gone" are the friendly puff interviews heralding Kennedy as a brave primary challenger to President Biden – victimized by the same "rigged" Democratic Party nominating system that protected Hillary Clinton's against the surging candidacy of socialist Bernie Sanders in 2016.
I saw the clips on Hannity of RFK Jr., he’s showing his true democrat colors. He said he doesn’t recall tweeting that the NRA is a terror group 🙄 he can’t seem to recall anything in that interview apparently. pic.twitter.com/TRt25gwHHL
— CC Manilow fan (@fanilowCC) October 11, 2023
"I hope you don’t mind, but I did a little research on you," Hannity said toward the beginning of his Fox News interview with Kennedy, according to Mediaite. "You’re pretty liberal. You know, you’ve called for curbing logging, oil drilling, fracking. You wanted to eliminate it. You called it had a victory for democracy. You wanna curb U.S. fossil fuel extraction. 'Keep it in the ground,' you once tweeted. You want a ban on fossil fuel extraction, a ban on fracking."
Fox News’ Sean Hannity calls out RFK Jr. for his past political positions. RFK shoots them down as “Trump campaign” talking points.
Kennedy recently ditched the Democratic Party to run as an Independent. pic.twitter.com/OW52c8MT2v
— Suburban Black Man 🇺🇸 (@niceblackdude) October 11, 2023
Hannity continued: "You called the NRA once, a 'terror group.' You supported, over the years, Democrats – Gore, Kerry, Obama, Hillary. You praised Bernie Sanders multiple times. You support affirmative action. So, why is this party of yours – why didn’t they want to allow you to compete? ‘Cause that’s as pretty liberal of a record as anybody I know."
When RFK Jr. protested that “You have a litany of talking points from statements I’ve made over 40 years. ... Some of them are stale. Some of them I never said," Hannity shot back: “By the way, I’m giving you comments that you made in 2016, ’17, ’19. ... Endorsements. We know the years Gore, Kerry, Obama, Hillary, Bernie Sanders. They’re all recent quotes! The NRA quote you made about calling them a terror group was 2018. So, these are recent positions you’ve had,” according to Mediaite.
'Energy radical,' 'huge admirer of Bernie Sanders'
Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee is leading the way in exposing Kennedy as a "Radical Democrat," the title of their new report on the nephew of President John F. Kennedy.
"While Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is now running under the guise of being an independent, he is just another radical, far-left Democrat," states the Oct. 9 report, subtitled, "Make No Mistake – RFK Jr. Is Just Another Liberal Who Wants to Ban Fossil Fuels, Raise Taxes, and Pass a Green New Deal."
"RFK Jr. is an energy radical who wants to end fossil fuels," says one section header in the document.
The RNC report lists these as among RFK Jr.'s liberal positions and advocacy (links for each point are found in the online report):
Leftists cry foul, but what did they expect?
Liberal media pundits and other leftist Democrats – and RFK Jr. supporters – are blasting Hannity for his turnaround on RFK Jr., but it was to be expected given two political realities: 1) polls revealed Kennedy could dig into likely GOP nominee Trump's support in 2024; and 2) coverage by most conservative media of RFK's actual (left-leaning) record has been superficial in not digging into his more liberal positions.
The former Democrat's longstanding opposition to vaccines and his fervent support of free speech and against COVID mandates have made him popular on the Right. Many conservatives and independents who are drawn to RFK Jr. see government and corporate "COVID tyranny" – and the willingness of so many Americans to succumb to hysteria and obey irrational edicts by both – as one of the most disgraceful chapters in U.S. history. Many of those same people, though supporters of Donald Trump, were troubled by his bragging about developing the rushed COVID vaccines, which have been tied to myocarditis and are now widely distrusted, and his deference to Anthony Fauci and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx during the pandemic.
Rfk jr not coming off well on hannity tonight getting called out on past quotes and supporting Barack, Bernie, and Hillary….. first time I’ve seen him visibly shaken answering questions…..
— Bcflash (@Bcflash2) October 11, 2023
But Kennedy's other advocacy, including his aggressive support for a "green" agenda, has not received nearly the coverage as his stances on COVID and government "weaponization" under Biden.
One might surmise from liberals' harsh denunciations of Hannity that they fear conservatives' exposure of RFK Jr.'s adherence to core, far-left Democratic planks like the "green new deal" that most MAGA Republicans – and many independent voters – oppose.
"In late July, [Hannity] turned over a full hour of his program to Kennedy, the sort of campaign contribution that he normally reserved for Republican candidates (as he did so often before last year’s midterm elections)," wrote Washington Post columnist Philip Bump Wednesday. "Kennedy was running against a Democrat, and that was good enough for Hannity. So he welcomed Kennedy to a 'town hall' in front of a live audience — though the only one asking questions was Sean Hannity."
Claiming that Fox News hosts promoted RFK Jr.'s candidacy only because they thought it would hurt Biden's chances in 2024, leftist video podcaster David Pakman said in a broadcast analyzing Hannity's "ambush" interview that it has now "pulled a 180 on RFK."
"Fox is scared of the monster it created," Pakman said Wednesday in a video titled, "Hannity AMBUSHES RFK Jr. now that he's a threat to Trump," which had 124,000 views by press time.
He said Hannity "sandbagged" Kennedy because "the new line for Republicans and right wing media is RFK might reelect Biden and hurt Trump because MAGA people are like, hey, [RFK is] anti-vax but maybe less nuts than Trump. That sounds interesting."
Fox News columnist Liz Peek had this to say Wednesday about RFK Jr.'s run as an independent: "Kennedy’s politics are all over the lot. Conservatives love his skepticism about top-down vaccine mandates but loathe his green energy embrace, enthusiasm for Big Labor and opposition to defense spending. Democrats may celebrate his push for free childcare but hate his determination to stamp out illegal immigration and they are horrified by his anti-vax history."
Peek continued: "Kennedy offers something for everybody, which threatens, especially, Joe Biden and to a lesser degree Donald Trump. Trump supporters, an Ipsos poll reveals, are more committed to their candidate than are backers of Biden; they are less likely to stray."
The following Rubin Report video from two months ago recalls when Hannity's interviews with RFK Jr. were more friendly: