RFK Jr. Responds to Family Members Endorsing Biden
RFK Jr. Responds to Family Members Endorsing Biden

By Jeff Louderback

When around 15 members of the Kennedy family formally endorsed President Joe Biden in Philadelphia, the same city where Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced he was leaving the Democrat primary race to run as an independent, the candidate took it in stride.

Upon learning of the event, Mr. Kennedy posted on X, formerly Twitter.

“I hear some of my family will be endorsing President Biden today. I am pleased they are politically active—it’s a family tradition. We are divided in our opinions but united in our love for each other. I hold this as a possibility for America too,” Mr. Kennedy wrote.

Speaking at a rally on April 18 in the City of Brotherly Love, Kerry Kennedy, the candidate’s younger sister and daughter of former senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, called President Biden her “hero” and said that “the best way forward for America is to reelect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for four more years.”

“That’s right, the Kennedy family endorses Joe Biden for president,” Ms. Kennedy exclaimed, adding that President Biden and former President Donald Trump are the only two candidates who have a chance to win the election.

“Donald Trump is running to take us backwards, attacking the most basic rights and freedoms that are core to who we are as Americans,” she said

Robert F. Kennedy, Mr. Kennedy’s father, was the attorney general under President John F. Kennedy and served as a U.S. senator from New York. He was assassinated in 1968 during a campaign stop in Los Angeles while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

President Biden considers Robert F. Kennedy a political hero and displays his bust in the Oval Office.

RFK Jr. entered the presidential race last April, challenging President Biden for the Democrat party nomination.

After encountering multiple hurdles from the Democratic National Committee and accusing the organization of “rigging the primary” and not allowing any candidate to compete against President Biden, Mr. Kennedy announced he would run as an independent Oct. 9, 2023.

Several members of Mr. Kennedy’s family have expressed concern that his candidacy will prevent President Biden from winning a second term and lead to President Trump’s return to the White House.

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. makes a campaign announcement at a press conference in Philadelphia, Pa., on Oct. 9, 2023. (Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

“Can we disagree without hating our opponents? Can we restore civility and respect to public discourse? I think we can. My campaign, which many of my family members are working on and supportive of, is about healing America—healing our economy, our chronic disease crisis, our middle class, our environment, and our standing in the world as a peaceful nation. But this will only happen if we heal our national conversation and move from rage and fear into love and respect,” he said.

Last October, after her brother declared his independence from the Democrat party and launched his run as an independent, Rory Kennedy called his campaign “dangerous” in a post on X.

“Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision, or judgment. Today’s announcement is deeply saddening for us. We denounce his candidacy and believe it to be perilous for our country,” Rory Kennedy wrote in a post with her siblings, Kerry Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy II, and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

On St. Patrick’s Day, Kerry Kennedy, posted a photo of President Biden and a dozen Kennedys on X and shared their support for him in a social media post.

President Biden responded: “From one proud Irish family to another—it was good to have you all back at the White House.”

Mr. Kennedy noted that several family members are also working for his campaign, including his daughter-in-law Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, who manages his campaign, and his first cousin Anthony Shriver.

Mr. Kennedy explained that, when he was growing up, his father encouraged spirited debate among siblings and cousins.

“I have a big family, about 105 cousins on the last time we counted. I have a big family. I don’t know anybody in America who’s got a family who agrees with him on everything,” Mr. Kennedy said.

“I come from a family, from a milieu where we came home at night and ate dinner with my father, and he would orchestrate debates between us, and we were—in the same way that his father did with him.

“We could disagree on issues, and we could disagree with passion and information, but we still loved each other. And I love Rory. I love my family. I feel loved by them.”

During a CNN interview early in April, Mr. Kennedy was asked if he thought President Biden and President Trump posed an equal threat to democracy. He replied that President Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results “clearly is a threat to democracy,” but President Biden is a “worse threat to democracy” because he used the power of his office to force social media companies to “censor his political critics.”

“I can make the argument that President Biden is the much worse threat to democracy, and the reason for that is President Biden is the first candidate in history—the first president in history that has used the federal agencies to censor political speech, so to censor his opponent,” Mr. Kennedy said.

‘Disinformation Dozen’

The White House cited a report in 2021 that labeled Mr. Kennedy as one of the “disinformation dozen” who distributed what it deemed inaccurate information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Last month, the Democratic National Committee announced the creation of a team to counter third-party and independent presidential candidates.

It hired Lis Smith, a veteran Democrat strategist who managed Pete Buttigieg’s unsuccessful 2020 presidential campaign, to spearhead an aggressive communication plan to combat Mr. Kennedy, independent Cornel West, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

News about the DNC’s campaign followed its March 4 complaint with the FEC contending that American Values 2024, a super PAC supporting Mr. Kennedy’s campaign, did not disclose $10 million in loans.

It marked the second time in a month that the committee has accused American Values 2024 of violating federal finance campaign law.

The FEC complaints illustrate the DNC’s attempts to destabilize Mr. Kennedy’s campaign as President Biden faces a plummeting job approval rating and mounting questions about his mental fitness.

The DNC and the president’s supporters are accusing Mr. Kennedy of being propped up by the Trump movement, as well as highlighting similar Trump–Kennedy policy stances in the areas of border security, U.S. funding for Ukraine, and vaccine mandates.

“It’s clear that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is being propped up and funded by Donald Trump and his allies because they believe that he is a useful stalking horse who could throw the election Trump’s way.

“We need to sound that alarm every day between now and the election,” Ms. Smith said.

Democrats are demonstrating hypocrisy in their efforts to keep him off the ballot, Mr. Kennedy said at a voter rally last weekend in West Des Moines, Iowa, where his campaign reported he qualified for the state’s general election ballot.

“The Democratic Party is supposed to be about exemplifying democracy and being a template for democracy around the world. If you ask high-level Democratic officials why they are doing this [attempting to keep him off the ballot] they say, ‘We have to do this because Trump poses a huge threat to democracy.’ They are essentially arguing we have to subvert democracy in order to save it.”

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