Kennedys endorse Biden in rebuke of RFK Jr. bid

More than a dozen members of the Kennedy family endorsed President Biden for reelection on Thursday, rebuking the candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose independent bid critics argue will help elect former President Trump.

Kerry Kennedy, the younger sister of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., addressed a group of Biden supporters in Philadelphia, joined on stage by the president and other members of her family.

“In 2024, there are only two candidates with any chance of winning the presidency,” she said, referencing Biden and Trump and implicitly dismissing her brother’s White House chances.

“We want to make crystal clear our feeling that the best way forward for America is to reelect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to four more years,” she added, flanked by a sign that read “We’re on Board.”

Kennedy outlined ways she said Biden’s agenda and political career have aligned with her father’s, citing Biden’s commitment to union workers, his efforts to reduce student loan debt and his focus on democracy.

“President Biden has been a champion for all the rights and freedoms that my father and uncles stood for,” Kerry Kennedy said.

“That’s why nearly every single grandchild of Joe and Rose Kennedy supports Joe Biden. That’s right: The Kennedy family endorses Joe Biden for president,” she added.

Fifteen members of the Kennedy family were in attendance at Thursday’s event, including Kerry Kennedy, Joe Kennedy II, Christopher Kennedy, Maxwell Kennedy and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, all of whom are siblings of Robert Kennedy Jr.

Joe Kennedy III, who is Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s nephew and serves as the Biden administration’s envoy to Northern Ireland, was also in attendance.

The president and members of the Kennedy family were scheduled to join local volunteers at a grassroots organizing event, where they will participate in voter outreach efforts, including phone calls and door knocking.

Thursday’s endorsement did not come as a surprise, as Kerry Kennedy and other members of the family have sought to distance themselves from Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential bid.

Biden last month hosted more than 30 members of the Kennedy family at the White House for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was not in attendance.

Kennedy Jr. on Thursday acknowledged the endorsements for his political rival in a post on the social platform X, likening the divide within his family to the political divisions across the country.

“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,” Kennedy Jr. wrote.

“I hold this as a possibility for America too,” he continued. “Can we disagree without hating our opponents? Can we restore civility and respect to public discourse? I think we can.”

An activist and lawyer, Kennedy Jr. has raised conspiracy theories about vaccines and has more broadly expressed distrust in the government. He recently sparked controversy with his comments about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, and he drew criticism over a Super Bowl ad that leaned heavily on the family name.

He is running an independent campaign for the White House, arguing Biden is not up to the job for another term and that former President Trump “failed” in his first term and would be bad for the country.

Democrats have expressed concerns that his candidacy might pull votes away from Biden in November and help elect Trump in a close race. A pro-Trump super PAC earlier this week launched a website that labels Kennedy Jr. a “radical liberal” and highlights his views on tax policy, gun laws and the climate.

A New York Times/Siena College poll published Saturday found Trump polling at 46 percent support to Biden’s 45 percent, with the president closing the gap from February, when Trump had a 5 percentage point lead.

A Decision Desk HQ average of national polling of a three-way race between Biden, Trump and Kennedy Jr. shows Trump leading Biden by less than 1 percentage point, with Kennedy Jr. polling at roughly 7 percent.

“I can only imagine how Donald Trump’s outrageous lies and behavior would have horrified my father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who proudly served as Attorney General of the United States, and honored his pledge to uphold the law and protect the country,” Kerry Kennedy said Thursday. “Daddy stood for equal justice, human rights, and freedom from want and fear. Just as President Biden does today.”

Updated at 2:46 p.m.

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