In an NBC News interview on Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) went after Robert F. Kennedy Jr., asserting that the Democratic presidential candidate is being used by conservatives.
When asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd whether he thought Kennedy was being used, Newsom said, “He’s smart enough not to be used. But he knows what he’s doing, and he’s being used.”
Kennedy is a conspiracy theorist and the face of the anti-vaccine movement, spreading false claims that immunization causes children to develop autism, allergies, cancer and other conditions.
In April, he announced he would be running as a Democratic candidate for the 2024 presidential nomination. Right-wing Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Infowars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have praised his run for president. Former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon said that Kennedy would make a great running mate for Trump, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, NBC News reported.
Newsom said in the interview that, although he reveres Kennedy as one of his “great inspirations on the environment” — a reference to his past work as an environmental lawyer and activist — he disagrees with Kennedy on many of his politics and stances today, such as his remarks about vaccines.
Last year, the two clashed in their opinions on the prison release of Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated his father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, as he ran for president in 1968. Newsom blocked the release and Kennedy insisted that Sirhan is innocent, Politico reported.
“I wish him only the best, and I mean that. I have great respect for ― for him, and his kids and his wife. But boy, his politics have shifted, and I just don’t buy it,” Newsom said.
HuffPost reached out to Kennedy for comment but did not receive an immediate response.