Robert Kennedy Jr to run for president in 2024 as independent, says report

The vaccine-sceptic believes changes to DNC rules may exclude his candidacy and that running as an independent is ‘the only way to go’

Mike Bedigan
Los Angeles
Saturday 30 September 2023 01:29 BST
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Robert F Kennedy Jr is reportedly planning to announce that he will pull out of the race to become the 2024 Democratic presidential candidate and run instead as an independent.

The lawyer and vaccine-sceptic is expected to release campaign ads targeting the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ahead of the announcement in October.

Mr Kennedy, who is the son of the late US Senator Robert F Kennedy, previously filed candidacy papers for the democratic nomination with the FEC in April.

But according to news outlet Mediaite, Mr Kennedy believes that changes to DNC rules may exclude his candidacy and that running as an independent is “the only way to go”.

Campaign ads aimed at the DNC are intended to “pave the way” for the announcement on October 9 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mediaite reported.

Mr Kennedy Jr’s father, the late New York Senator Robert F Kennedy Sr, was a candidate in the 1968 presidential election before he was assassinated.

Though he is currently running as a Democrat, the 69-year-old has ties to the former president and 2024 Republican hopeful Donald Trump, and some of his biggest supporters are on the right.

In 2017, he was tapped by the then-president-elect to oversee a presidential panel to review vaccine safety and science - despite having repeatedly expressed scepticism about vaccines.

He continued pushing those beliefs through the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Kennedy, who is the son of the late US Senator Robert F Kennedy, previously filed candidacy papers for the democratic nomination with the FEC in April.
Mr Kennedy, who is the son of the late US Senator Robert F Kennedy, previously filed candidacy papers for the democratic nomination with the FEC in April. (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Since its announcement, Mr Kennedy’s campaign has teetered on the edge of seriousness, buoyed by his famous last name and financial support from right-wing operatives eager to weaken President Joe Biden’s reelection bid.

He has clashed numerous times with the media and members of the party he is ostensibly a member of over issues including the Covid vaccine, the independence of medical experts, and even antisemitism.

Last month appeared to come out in support of a national abortion ban three months into a pregnancy, after being questioned at the Iowa state fair.

His campaign team later claimed that Mr Kennedy had not meant what he had said, as he had “misunderstood” the question and that he “does not support legislation banning abortion.”

At an event in June, Mr Kennedy said that he would not take away people’s guns as a solution to reducing mass shootings, and made unfounded claims that the nationwide problem was linked to psychiatric drugs.

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