Bill Maher Batters His Buddy RFK Jr. Over Anti-Vax Claims


Bill Maher took presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to task on Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, over his and his running mate’s persistent efforts to spread anti-vaccine misinformation.

Maher has consistently platformed RFK Jr. throughout his presidential campaign, touting his “guts and integrity,” as he’s promulgated misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. The presidential candidate's unsavory anti-vax rhetoric was once again pushed to the forefront of his campaign, when his running mate Nicole Shanahan called for a recall of the Moderna vaccine, earlier this month. Apparently the comment didn’t sit so well with Maher.

“But your vice presidential pick wants to recall the Moderna vaccine, that’s the one I got,” said Maher, who looked out onto the laughing audience. “Do you agree with that? Recall it?

Appearing to be taken off-guard, RFK Jr. sputtered in response. “I think those vaccines need to, we need to have again true double-blind placebo controlled trials on that,” he said. “There is 25 percent of Americans who believe that they know somebody who was killed by a COVID vaccine.”

“Killed?” Maher asked.

“Killed. 25 percent of Americans. 52 percent of Americans believe that the vaccines are causing injuries, including death. 52 percent,” RFK Jr. responded. He then dove into describing the results of the Pfizer vaccine’s clinical trial study, but his argument was less than convincing to the talk show host.

“People who got the vaccine had a 23 percent higher death rate, from all causes, at the end of that study,” RFK Jr. said.

“That could not be the disease itself?” Maher asked, incredulously.

“If it is, then the vaccine doesn’t work,” RFK Jr. said. The audience began applauding, but Maher quickly shut it down, forced to fact-check his friend in Real Time.

“Well, no no, that’s not, that’s not true at all,” he said. “And I’m someone who did not want to get the vaccine, and didn’t think I should have been made to get it. But it does work.”

The vaccine saved “many people who would've died because they were not in good health,” Maher said. Meanwhile Covid-19 killed, “mostly the obese and the very elderly.”

“Those people are alive today, I think, because of the vaccine. I think that’s the truth. Does it also have complications? Yes,” he said. “But they could’ve had worse issues if they got the disease.”

RFK Jr. went on the defensive. “I think that [if] people want vaccines, they should be able to get it, I’m not anti-vaccine,” he said.

“Well people think you are,” Maher replied.

In response, the presidential candidate, who had just spouted blatant misinformation about vaccines, argued that that term is often used to silence him. RFK Jr. instead clarified that he is simply “against vaccine mandates,” an essential tool in ensuring that vaccines can work the most effectively.

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that Maher was referring to COVID-19, not the vaccine, when he said “it killed mostly the obese and the very elderly.”

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