Over the weekend, videos of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. exercising circulated the internet. Groaning and glistening while donning tight jeans and no shirt, the presidential candidate earned the approval of an interesting array of people, namely far-right media and Twitter’s blue-check army.
“Getting in shape for my debates with President Biden!” Kennedy tweeted alongside a video of him squeezing through nine non–fully extended pushups.
“That’s a fit boy,” a voice said behind the camera.
Another video showcased Kennedy struggling through a similarly lackluster set of inclined bench presses at what appears to be a whopping 115 pounds—certainly nothing to dismiss on its own, but maybe not a performance to so excitedly cheer for if Kennedy’s body was as herculean as some have made it out to be (this was “his last drop set of the day,” the video tweeter assured the public).
Anyhow, the lovefest ensued.
The posts have also been part of a smear campaign against a prominent scientist who has been targeted for his support of vaccines. The implication being: Why trust a normal-looking scientist who supports vaccines when you have this red, meaty anti-vaxxer (who definitely doesn’t instead inject himself with steroids) right in front of you?
RFK Jr. prides his campaign on being health-centered in a way that no other candidate is, hence his latest strategy to showcase himself as uniquely fit relative to Biden (curiously, the comparison to the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, has not been made by RFK Jr. or many of his ogling fans). But having a balanced diet and embracing physical activity certainly do not preclude someone from also taking rigorously studied vaccines against diseases that have killed millions of people.
Such revolutionarily basic logic unfortunately might not penetrate the force field humming around the freethinkers who have been led to believe that freethinking means free of thinking.
The sweaty Kennedy content was imposed so forcefully onto people’s Twitter timelines, it would not have been surprising if Elon Musk himself was juicing the numbers. And that might not be the only juicing relevant here. While Kennedy has prided himself on standing against vaccines researched and scrutinized by thousands of scientists around the world, one might not be out of bounds to question the particular puffiness of his stature.
It’s not bad for someone to take steroids, especially if they are proven to support one’s physical or mental health, or longevity. If only that logic would be extended to the millions of transgender people in this country, instead of for instance, Kennedy insinuating that chemicals in water are turning them trans.