Attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s pivot Monday to an independent run for president met immediate resistance from Republican leaders, who have concluded that his new effort threatens to cannibalize their vote share next year, helping to reelect President Biden.
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The Republican National Committee greeted his announcement with a press release that described Kennedy as “just another radical, far-left Democrat,” with a number of talking points that could be used by the expansive network of conservative commentators who tend to take messaging cues from the party.
“Make no mistake — a Democrat in Independent’s clothing is still a Democrat. RFK Jr. cannot hide from his record of endorsing Hillary, supporting the Green New Deal, fighting against the Keystone Pipeline, and praising AOC’s tax hikes — he is your typical elitist liberal and voters won’t be fooled,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for former president Donald Trump’s campaign, echoed the condemnation. “Voters should not be deceived by anyone who pretends to have conservative values,” Cheung said in a statement. An “RFK candidacy is nothing more than a vanity project for a liberal Kennedy to cash in on his family’s name.” [Continue reading…]
Before entering the 2024 presidential race as a Democrat, Robert Kennedy Jr. spent years cultivating the kind of following on the far-right that now has prominent Donald Trump allies urging the former president to consider Kennedy as his running mate.
Kennedy inhabits an ambiguous ideological space. He’s proudly running as a Democrat who supports abortion rights and gun control, but his views on vaccines and other issues — and frequent appearances on outlets from Fox News to Alex Jones’ Infowars — have made him popular among far-right conspiracy theorists.
That groundwork is paying off in the form of widespread praise from conservative media influencers who have urged their audiences to keep an open mind about Kennedy, perhaps eager to use him as a foil against President Joe Biden.
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon said he received a “standing ovation” from a “hardcore MAGA” crowd at a recent speaking engagement for floating the idea of a bipartisan Trump-Kennedy ticket. “Bobby Kennedy would be, I think, an excellent choice for President Trump to consider” as a running mate, Bannon said this week on his “War Room” show. [Continue reading…]