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Robbert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, on Wednesday formally launched his 2024 Democratic presidential campaign, vowing to end the merger of state and corporate power.
Kennedy is the son of Robert F. Kennedy, a former U.S. attorney general and U.S. senator assassinated while running for president in 1968. Kennedy teased a 2024 campaign on Twitter last month, asking people to visit his website and contribute.
“I’ve come here today to announce my candidacy for Democratic nomination for president of the United States,” Kennedy said at the Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Boston, Massachusetts. “My mission over the next 18 months of this campaign, and throughout my presidency, will be to end the corrupt merger of state and corporate power that is threatening now to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism on our country.”
Kennedy became the second Democrat to announce a bid for the White House after longtime author, lecturer, and self-help guru Marianne Williamson announced her candidacy last month — both seeking to replace President Joe Biden, who said he intends to seek another term but has yet to make a bid official.
“My whole family, including myself, have long personal relationships with President Biden,” Kennedy said, adding some of whom work in the current administration and “plain disagree” with him. “And they are entitled to their beliefs, and I respect their opinions — and I love them back. Is it too much to hope that we could have the same thing for our country? We have a polarization in our country today that is so toxic, so dangerous, than at any time since the Civil War.”
Kennedy said he would focus his presidency on unifying the polarization by discussing common values.
“I’m going to do that by telling the truth to the American people,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and a best-selling author, has garnered attention in recent years for his stance against vaccines.
He founded a nonprofit organization called the Children’s Health Defense, which on its website shares a vision for a “world free of childhood chronic health conditions caused by environmental exposures.”
During the pandemic, Kennedy expressed concerns about COVID vaccines, including the suspicion that the death of baseball star Hank Aaron may have been tied to the shots. A medical examiner determined Aaron died of natural causes at age 86.
Kennedy made headlines in 2022 for his comments at an anti-vaccine rally where he accused the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, of orchestrating “fascism.” Kennedy later apologized for invoking Anne Frank and the Holocaust at that same event, and his wife, actress Cheryl Hines, called the comments “reprehensible and insensitive.”
Following his announcement, a new national poll from USA TODAY/Suffolk University surveyed 14% of voters who supported Biden in the 2020 presidential race would cast a vote for Kennedy in 2024. Around two-thirds said they would continue supporting Biden, 5% would back Williamson, and 13% remained undecided.
On the Republican side, former President Donald Trump is seeking another term. Former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson have also entered the 2024 race for the GOP presidential nomination. Others who might join the contest include former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Daniel Chaitin contributed to this report.