Kennedy Family Members to Endorse Biden for President

April 18, 2024 by Dan McCue
Kennedy Family Members to Endorse Biden for President
President Joe Biden waves as he walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, after returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

PHILADELPHIA — More than a dozen members of the Kennedy family are expected to endorse President Joe Biden at a campaign rally in Philadelphia on Thursday, once again highlighting the rift between themselves and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whose independent campaign for the White House they’ve roundly rejected.

Biden left the White House en route to Philadelphia shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday, and he is scheduled to appear at the first of two rallies in the city at about 12:45 p.m.

When he arrives, the president’s re-election campaign said, he’ll be greeted by as many as 15 members of the Kennedy clan, including RFK Jr.’s siblings, Joseph, Kerry, Rory, Kathleen, Maxwell and Christopher.

Kerry Kennedy will introduce Biden at the rally, the campaign said, and Joe Kennedy III, RFK Jr.’s nephew and a former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, will do so at a second event, set for about 2 p.m.

Ahead of Thursday’s events, Kerry Kennedy, a lawyer and human rights advocate, made the rounds of the morning news shows to talk about the family’s support for Biden’s reelection bid.

“We’re here in Philadelphia with my siblings and representing my first cousins, all of whom … are supporting Joe Biden for reelection,” she said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. “We’re doing that because we feel that the stakes are so high.”

Shortly before Kennedy appeared on the program, a clip was shown in which her father, Robert F. Kennedy Sr. said “I cannot stand aside.”

She picked up the theme, saying the family members believe they can’t stand aside “when we’re up against a man who says he wants to be a dictator on day one, who says he’s going to change the Constitution so he can go after his enemies, who has cozied up to dictators … We need to stop this man. We need to stop Trump and we need to elect Joe Biden, who has always stood with the middle class … and who cares about the middle class and working class in America.”

On ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Kennedy added, “nobody competes with President Biden when it comes to carrying on the legacies of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy.

“He has spent his whole life working on behalf of working people, of gig workers. He marched with the UAW and helped to end that strike early. He is an extraordinary leader. He cares about all of us,” she said.

Of course, members of the Kennedy family have made no secret of their disapproval of RFK Jr.’s candidacy, expressing concern that he will help Trump win a second term by drawing votes away from Biden in a number of key battleground states.

They also roundly denounced an ad that a super PAC supporting Kennedy ran during the Super Bowl. The spot was highly reminiscent of an ad run by his uncle, John F. Kennedy, during the 1960 presidential campaign and featured several period photos of members of that generation of the family.

And last month, several members of the Kennedy family gathered with Biden at the White House to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Biden later shared a photo of the group on social media with the caption: “From one proud Irish family to another — it was good to have you all back at the White House.”

Biden has long cited both John and the elder Robert Kennedy as inspirations for his life in public service, and he’s been particularly vocal about his regard for Robert F. Kennedy, whose bust has a place of honor in the Oval Office.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., responded to his family members’ endorsement of Biden in a social media post of his own Thursday morning.

“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,” he said.

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

“My campaign, which many of my family members are working on and supportive of, is about healing America — healing our economy, our chronic disease crisis, our middle class, our environment and our standing in the world as a peaceful nation,” Kennedy said. “But this will only happen if we heal our national conversation, and move from rage and fear into love and respect.”

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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