Kennedy family feud cools as RFK Jr.'s independent run rattles Republicans

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Robert’s statesmanlike aspirations person roiled the Kennedy family. Ahead of his brother’s announcement successful April, Chris said successful an interrogation with POLITICO determination was “robust intra-family dialogue” astir Robert running. “All of america shared with him our candid thoughts. It’s what a large Irish Catholic household volition do.”

The Kennedys, who person 1 of the astir salient names successful Democratic politics, didn’t permission it there. Conversations urging him to driblet retired continued. Chris said members of the household confronted him astatine ample household events astatine Hyannis Port and successful Cape Cod. They brought it up with him implicit substance chains and successful Zoom meetings. “None of america similar struggle among ourselves,” Chris said, but erstwhile they do, “it’s afloat contact.”

Robert’s siblings person spent months successful nary uncertain presumption trying to get their member retired of the race. But ultimately, Chris said, “It was his decision.” Robert Kennedy Jr.’s run did not instrumentality a petition for comment.

Biden was ne'er successful information of losing the nomination, but Robert’s candidacy proved to beryllium thing of an embarrassment for Democrats. Robert, a longtime biology lawyer and anti-vaccine activist, seemed to beryllium drafting a protestation ballot from Democrats, suggesting that Biden was anemic going into a imaginable rematch with Trump.

But successful Kennedy’s pivot to an independent, early polling seems to suggest that the anti-vaccine sentiments helium espouses whitethorn beryllium drafting successful much Republicans than Democrats.

Chris thinks there’s thing to the argument. “With Bobby nary longer moving successful the Democratic Party, that’s taken a batch of unit disconnected of us,” helium said. “We emotion our brother. We emotion our party. And we emotion our president. Ultimately, it’s amended that he’s moving arsenic an autarkic and tin interaction President Trump.”

But possibly due to the fact that they beryllium to a enactment that has seen the presidency gaffe distant earlier acknowledgment to third-party spoilers, different Kennedy siblings weren’t truthful generous astir Robert’s move.

“The determination of our member Bobby to tally arsenic a 3rd enactment campaigner against Joe Biden is unsafe to our country,” Robert’s sister Rory Kennedy shared connected societal media channels. “We denounce his candidacy and judge it to beryllium perilous for our country.” Kerry Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy II and Kathleen Kennedy besides signed the statement.

Chris didn’t motion connected to the sentiment, seeming much optimistic that Robert’s determination volition assistance Biden.

“We’re hopeful that helium pulls enactment from President Trump and that helium helps Joe Biden successful the end,” Chris said, calling his brother’s exit “a motion of strength” for Biden. “There’s nary different campaigner reasoning astir moving who has arsenic overmuch charisma arsenic Bobby. If Bobby couldn’t bushed Biden, I don’t deliberation anyone can.”

Chris, who runs successful Chicago concern circles, has tangled with authorities himself. He ran for the Democratic information for Illinois politician successful 2018 and mislaid to the existent Gov. JB Pritzker. He sees aboriginal anecdotal grounds that Robert’s tally is appealing to his Republican friends.

“The folks I cognize who are astir vocal astir their enactment for Bobby are a batch of my accepted Republican friends,” Chris said. “As a Kennedy, lone Bobby, with that benignant of charisma, could pull that overmuch Republican support.”

Chris expects his brother’s run volition travel up during upcoming Thanksgiving festivities astatine Hyannis Port. About 120 members of the household volition stitchery and everyone volition get different accidental to archer Robert what they deliberation of his candidacy.

One household subordinate who won’t beryllium captious is Ethel Kennedy, the household matriarch, who “is unequivocally supportive of her children,” Chris said. “But she does person a photograph of President Biden connected her mantle.”