Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has joined Marianne Williamson, who up until now has been the only declared candidate for the 2024 Democratic nomination, although President Joe Biden has repeatedly said that he intends to run for a second term despite polling that shows three out of four party members do not want him as their standard bearer.
An environmental lawyer and author, Kennedy is the third of eleven children of US senator, attorney general and assassinated 1968 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and a nephew of President John F. Kennedy but his status as political royalty is tainted by the reaction to his zealous approach to promoting anti-vaccine propaganda and discredited conspiracy theories.
His brother, Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from the 8th congressional district of Massachusetts from 1987 to 1999 and his sister, Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend, was the sixth Lieutenant Governor of Maryland from 1995 to 2003.
He helped found the non-profit environmental group Waterkeeper Alliance in 1999 and has served as the president of its board. Kennedy has co-hosted Ring of Fire, a nationally syndicated radio program, and written or edited ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers.
“I support my husband 100 percent and I love my husband,” said Curb Your Enthusiasm actress Cheryl Hines, the presidential hopeful’s third wife, who has previously said: “My husband’s opinions are not a reflection of my own. While we love each other, we differ on many current issues.”
Asked if Kennedy’s name would help him in his bid to oust Biden, Hines replied, “I think his body of work will get him everywhere he needs to go.”
Kennedy has become one of the most prominent faces of the anti-vaccine movement as the founder of Children’s Health Defense, a nonprofit organization known mainly for its anti-vaccine efforts.
The group was kicked off Instagram and Facebook for spreading misleading claims about vaccines and other public health measures but during the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization’s revenues doubled to $6.8 million, according to filings made with charity regulators. These offbeat positions have put him at odds with his own family.
“I love my brother Bobby, but I do not share or endorse his opinions on many issues, including the COVID pandemic, vaccinations, and the role of social media platforms in policing false information,” said the candidate’s sister, Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. “It is also important to note that Bobby’s views are not reflected in or influence the mission or work of our organization.”
Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, Townsend, and her daughter, Maeve Kennedy McKean, have accused the candidate of being, “part of a misinformation campaign that’s having heartbreaking—and deadly—consequences.”
His campaign website says, “Kennedy, Jr. has spent his life fighting for American democracy and the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. He has battled against corporate greed and government corruption to protect our children, our health, our livelihoods, our environment, and above all, our freedom.”
“With integrity, courage, and self-sacrifice, he has led Americans in an ennobling fight to restore our country as an exemplary nation, and to end the toxic polarization that divides us and enriches the elites,” says the campaign website. “His character and unique history fighting crooked bureaucracies make RFK, Jr. the only person who can bridge the divide and fix our country.”
Biden has been hiding from opportunities to confront his rivals as the political establishment is contorting itself in an attempt to deny the obvious weakness in the incumbent’s re-election prospects.
In June 2015, Vermont’s US Senator Bernie Sanders was polling at 1% to 2% among Democrats, but he ended up winning 22 states and nearly defeating establishment favorite Hillary Clinton.
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