Robert F Kennedy Jr. to challenge Biden for the White House

Robert F Kennedy Jr. to challenge Biden for the White House
Robert F Kennedy Jr

Robert F Kennedy Jr

Robert F Kennedy Jr. has filed election paperwork to run for US president in 2024 as a Democrat.

The 69-year-old is the son of assassinated Senator Robert F Kennedy and nephew of President John F Kennedy.

The environmental lawyer’s campaign treasurer, John E Sullivan, confirmed the filing on Wednesday.

Mr. Kennedy is an outspoken anti-vaccine campaigner. Instagram removed his account in 2021 for “repeatedly sharing debunked claims”, the company said.

Both Democratic and Republican parties hold their own contests – called primaries – to find their presidential nominee. Mr. Kennedy will be a rank outsider for the Democratic nomination.

US President Joe Biden has indicated he will run for re-election, although he has not yet formally declared his candidacy.

He was previously expected to launch his campaign in early April, but top aids say his timeline has shifted.

Robert F Kennedy Jr and Cheryl Hines

Robert F Kennedy Jr. and his wife, Cheryl Hines

CBS News, the BBC’s US partner, has reported that he is expected to formally announce a run in early summer now.

Last month, another Democrat, Marianne Williamson, jumped into the presidential race.

In March, Mr. Kennedy shared on Twitter that he was considering a run for president.

At the time, he said: “If I run, my top priority will be to end the corrupt merger between state and corporate power that has ruined our economy, shattered the middle class, polluted our landscapes and waters, poisoned our children, and torn us of our values ​​and freedoms.”

Mr. Kennedy told a New Hampshire crowd in March that he had “passed the biggest hurdle” – his wife greenlighting the run.

As the co-founder of an environmental law firm, Mr. Kennedy won plaudits for campaigning on issues such as clean water, including working to clean up the Hudson River in New York.

But his anti-vaccine views go back years and have provoked a strong backlash, including from his own family. In 2021 his sister, Kerry Kennedy, called him “very dangerous” on the issue.

Kennedy was shot by a sniper during a visit to Dallas, Texas, in 1963

President John F Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas, in 1963

In 2019, three other family members penned an op-ed in the news outlet Politico, denouncing Mr. Kennedy’s anti-vaccine views.

His sister Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, brother Joseph P Kennedy II and niece Maeve Kennedy McKean said his views were “tragically wrong” and had “deadly consequences”.

In 2022, Facebook and Instagram removed accounts for an anti-vaccine group founded by Mr. Kennedy, Children’s Health Defense, for “repeatedly” violating company policies on medical misinformation.

Although Mr Kennedy’s vaccine skepticism long predates Covid, he found a new audience during the pandemic, when revenues to Children’s Health Defense doubled to $6.8m (£5.5m).

Mr. Kennedy also published a book, The Real Anthony Fauci, in which he accused the former US infectious disease chief of “a historic coup d’etat against Western democracy”.

He also invoked Nazi Germany during an anti-vaccine speech in Washington, DC last year.

Mr. Kennedy has a voice disorder, spasmodic dysphonia, which affects the muscles in his voice box.

He married actress Cheryl Hines in 2014 and lives Los Angeles, California.

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