Anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. declared on Wednesday that he will be a Democrat running for president in 2024.
The 69-year-old lawyer announced his candidacy in a packed ballroom at the Boston Park Plaza, where he was introduced as the son of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy. In a nearly two-hour speech, he painted a picture of a divided and decaying nation needing a unifier from one of the nation’s most prominent political families.
“I’ve come here today to announce my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States” He added that his campaign’s and presidency’s goal will be to“end the corrupt merger of state and corporate power.”
As the founder of Children’s Health Defense, a nonprofit group recognized for its anti-vaccine initiatives, Kennedy, who has advocated vaccine hesitancy throughout the 2000s, has emerged as one of the movement’s most prominent speakers.
Through his support of what detractors call COVID-19 vaccination hoaxes, Kennedy, a self-described “lifelong Democrat,” has won over some unusual allies on the right.
“RFK Jr. could jump into the Republican primary for president, and only [Ron] DeSantis and [former President Donald] Trump, I think, would do better,” former Trump adviser Steve Bannon recently said on MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s streaming program, “Lindell TV.”
Kennedy tried to strike a balance between his party’s supporters and detractors during his statement.
“During this campaign and during my administration my objective will be to make as many Americans as possible forget that they are Republicans or Democrats and remember that they are Americans,” Kennedy said. “We need to focus on the values we share instead of the issues that divide us,” he said.
Even as he waxed lyrical about his experiences as a lawyer and recounted historical incidents like the American Revolution, Kennedy painted a picture of his idealized version of the United States, one in which individuals can express themselves without worrying about censorship, kids are healthier. There are fewer American forces sent abroad.
“I’m not an ideal presidential candidate for normal times,” he said, trying to differentiate himself from candidates who, he says, “spend their life saying, ‘I have to be careful because one day I’m going to be in the White House.'”
“In normal circumstances, I would not do this, but these are not normal circumstances. I’m watching my country being stolen from me,” he said.
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Interviews with a few of the roughly 2,000 participants revealed that Kennedy received support from different political ideologies.
Rowan May, a 25-year-old Democrat who attended the event “just out of interest,” is looking for a replacement for Biden because that’s who he voted for in the 2020 election.
Regarding that vote, he remarked, “I regret it.”
Former Trump supporter Diane McKamey, 62, claimed that Kennedy “represents mainstream America.”
“I’ve been a Republican forever,” she said, adding that Kennedy has her vote.
Some voters seemed particularly attracted to Kennedy because of his doubts about the COVID-19 vaccination.
“I’m here because I believe in health freedom,” said 61-year-old Patience Warnick, whose daughter had adverse reactions to a series of vaccinations when she was a young child.
As the first Democrat, Kennedy Independent Warnick claims to have cast a ballot for.
He will now compete against self-help author Marianne Williamson, whose campaign was unveiled on March 4. He’ll probably run against President Joe Biden, who has often stated his intention to seek reelection in 2024, barring significant obstacles like his health. The Democrat hasn’t formally made a choice, though.
To avoid inquiries about a prospective Biden rival, the White House did not respond to Kennedy’s Wednesday declaration that she would run for president.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre cited the HATCH Act, which limits the political activity of government employees.
“So it’s 2024 — the HATCH Act — I’m not going to touch that,” she said at a daily press briefing. “I’m not going to touch that with a 12-foot pole.”
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For almost 4 years, Jason Martin has been a freelance writer for newspapers, journals, blogs, books, and online material. He covers the most recent news as well as many other topics.