Kennedy, a longtime opponent of vaccines, invoked Nazi Germany in his belief against vaccine mandates on Sunday, at the Lincoln Memorial, and suggested that Frank was better off than Americans whose jobs require them to get vaccinated. I later apologized for the reference.
“My husband’s reference to Anne Frank at a mandate rally in DC was reprehensible and insensitive,” Hines tweeted
on Tuesday. “The atrocities that millions endured during the Holocaust should never be compared to anyone or anything. His opinions of him are not a reflection of my own.”
Kennedy was one of several speakers at Sunday’s anti-vaccine mandate rally who compared Covid-19 vaccine requirements in the US to Nazi Germany, CNN Politics reported.
“Even in Hitler Germany (sic), you could, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic, like Anne Frank did,” Kennedy said in his speech. “I visited, in 1962, East Germany with my father and met people who had climbed the wall and escaped, so it was possible. Many died, true, but it was possible.”
Frank was one of some 6 million Jews who were murdered by Nazis during World War II. Frank, thought to be 15 when she died, hid in an attic in the Netherlands before she was caught and sent to a concentration camp.
Kennedy apologized in a tweet on Tuesday for invoking Frank’s name, tweeting that his “intention was to use examples of past barbarism to show the perils from new technologies of control.”
“I apologize for my reference to Anne Frank, especially to families that suffered the Holocaust horrors,” he tweeted
. “To the extent my remarks caused hurt, I am truly and deeply sorry.”
Hines responded to her husband’s comments in a less specific statement on Monday, in which she replied to a tweet with
, “My husband’s opinions are not a reflection of my own. While we love each other, we differ on many current issues.” She specified that she disagreed with Kennedy’s comments about Frank when pressed by Twitter users including NBC News senior reporter Ben Collins
But Kennedy has compared vaccine requirements to the Holocaust before. In 2015, at a screening of a film that focused on inaccurate claims that vaccines can cause autism, he called the number of children “injured” by vaccines (again, a baseless claim) “a holocaust,” CBS News reported at the time. He later apologized for making the comparison but doubled down on his inaccurate claims of vaccines causing autism.
Kennedy, who married Hines in 2014, late last year said Hines asked guests of a holiday party they were hosting to get vaccinated or test negative before arriving. He told Politico that while Hines imposed the vaccine recommendations, he neither took measures to verify vaccination or test status.