Much to the surprise of the millions of people who admired Robert Kennedy, his son who bears his name has become one of the nation’s leading anti-vaxxers, sometimes allying himself with the bottom fishers of the far right.

The AP reported:

While many nonprofits and businesses have struggled during the pandemic, Kennedy’s anti-vaccine group has thrived. An investigation by The Associated Press finds that Children’s Health Defense has raked in funding and followers as Kennedy used his star power as a member of one of America’s most famous families to open doors, raise money and lend his group credibility. Filings with charity regulators show revenue more than doubled in 2020, to $6.8 million.

Since the pandemic started, Children’s Health Defense has expanded the reach of its newsletter, which uses slanted information, cherry-picked facts and conspiracy theories to spread distrust of the COVID-19 vaccines. The group has also launched an internet TV channel and started a movie studio. CHD has global ambitions. In addition to opening new U.S. branches, it now boasts outposts in Canada, Europe and, most recently, Australia. It’s translating articles into French, German, Italian and Spanish, and it’s on a hiring spree…

As Children’s Health Defense has worked to expand its influence, experts said, it has targeted its false claims at groups that may be more prone to distrust the vaccine, including mothers and Black Americans. It’s a strategy that experts worry has deadly consequences during a pandemic that has killed more than 5 million people, when misinformation has been deemed a threat to public health. The death toll in the United States hit 800,000 this week, and nearly a third of those people have died since vaccines became available to all adults in the U.S. Unvaccinated people are 14 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than those who get the shot, according to the CDC.

As vaccines have become a wedge political issue, Kennedy’s opposition to the shot has at times brought him close to anti-democracy forces on the right who have made common cause with the anti-vaccine movement. The scion of the country’s most prominent Democratic family has appeared at events that pushed the lie that the 2020 election was stolen and associated with people who have celebrated or downplayed the violent Jan. 6. attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Encouraging people not to get vaccinated in the midst of a global pandemic that has killed more than 800,000 Americans and millions of people around the world is downright disgraceful. People who listen to this Kennedy are risking their lives.