(New York) Robert F. Kennedy Jr, a leading figure in the anti-vaccine movement, crossed the North American continent to go to Boston, the birthplace of his family and the American Revolution, where he announced his candidacy for the presidency on Wednesday of the United States and claimed the torch of his country’s most famous political dynasty.
In a video that preceded his appearance at Boston Park Plaza – and throughout his speech – the adopted Californian made numerous references to his uncle John, 35th president, and his father Robert, presidential candidate in 1968, both assassinated.
“At the time, my father was in many ways in the same situation as me,” said the man who first rose to prominence as an environmental lawyer before becoming a critic of vaccination. “He was running against a president of his own party. He opposed a war. He presented himself at a time of unprecedented division in our country. He had no chance of winning. »
But, he added, “this desperation for his campaign allowed him to speak the truth to the American people.”
Robert Kennedy, 69, joins Marianne Williamson, author of best-selling books on spirituality and well-being, as Joe Biden’s opponent in the race for the Democratic nomination for the 2024 presidential election.
And, if we are to believe a poll published Wednesday by USA Today, he leaves with a surprising number of supports. Only 67% of Joe Biden voters in 2020 said they would support him for the Democratic nomination compared to his current opponents. Kennedy is at 14% and Williamson at 5%.
“Although his chances are slim, Kennedy starts with more than 10% support and cannot be ignored at this point,” commented David Paleologos, director of the Center for Political Research at Suffolk University, which led the poll.
Never mind: Thomas Whalen, author of two books on the Kennedys and professor of social studies at Boston University, is more than skeptical of the candidacy of the third of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s 11 children.
“The famous Kennedy family name has really tarnished over the past few decades,” he said.
“This is more of a joke than a serious nomination,” the professor added, alluding to Kennedy’s positions related to vaccination in general and the COVID-19 pandemic in particular.
In recent years, RFK Jr has accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of a “coup against Western democracy”; he promoted the antiparasitic drug ivermectin to treat COVID-19; and he said Jews enjoyed greater freedom in Nazi Germany than Americans from lockdowns and vaccination requirements.
In 2019, three members of his family – his sister Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, his brother Joseph P. Kennedy II and his niece Maeve Kennedy McKean – wrote a column on the Politico site accusing him of participating in “a disinformation campaign whose consequences are heartbreaking and murderous.”
But this is not the only subject on which Robert Kennedy Jr adopts positions similar to those of the Trumpist right. The same is true for Ukraine, whose defense does not in his opinion represent a vital national interest, or for the media, of which he is as wary as Donald Trump.
“The media is lying to us and everyone knows it,” he said in Boston.
On April 8, he previously called a “brazen lie” a tweet by CBS reporter Robert Costa that former Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon encouraged him to run against Joe Biden.
According to Costa, who co-authored the book Peril with famed investigative journalist Bob Woodward, Bannon viewed Kennedy as a “helpful agent of chaos.”
On Wednesday, Kennedy said his mission “over the next 18 months of this campaign and my presidency will be to end the corrupt fusion of state and corporate power that has ruined our economy, destroyed the middle class , polluted our landscapes and waters, poisoned our children, and stripped us of our values and our freedom.”
RFK Jr is the third member of the Boston dynasty to run for president while a Democrat occupies the White House. After his father in 1968, his uncle Edward, then a senator from Massachusetts, also did so in 1980 by challenging Jimmy Carter.
“This bodes ill for Joe Biden,” said Thomas Whalen, half fig, half grape. “Every time a Kennedy campaigns under these circumstances, it has led to the election of a Republican or Conservative president, in this case Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. ” Never two without three ?