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The Kennedys endorse Biden, not their family member RFK Jr.

President Biden listens to Kerry Kennedy at a Philadelphia event where the Kennedy family endorsed his campaign.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
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AFP via Getty Images
President Biden listens to Kerry Kennedy at a Philadelphia event where the Kennedy family endorsed his campaign.

Updated April 18, 2024 at 3:04 PM ET

More than a dozen members of the Kennedy family endorsed President Biden's reelection bid on Thursday — formally turning their backs on one of their own, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has launched his own independent run for office.

Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy Sr. and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, has a slim shot of winning in November, but a third-party candidate with a legendary Democratic surname has the potential to draw votes away from Biden.

"We want to make crystal-clear our feeling that the best way forward for America is to reelect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to four more years," said Kerry Kennedy — RFK Jr.'s sister — as she gave a glowing endorsement to Biden.

She did not directly mention her brother's presidential bid. Neither did Biden. But she said "there are only two candidates with any chance of winning" the 2024 race as she listed Biden's policy accomplishments.

Kerry Kennedy said her father would have been 'horrified' by Trump

Kerry Kennedy described Biden's Republican opponent, former President Donald Trump, as an "antidemocratic" candidate who "spews dangerous conspiracy theories on climate change, vaccines, windmills and voter fraud."

She said she thought her father — an attorney general, senator and Democratic presidential candidate before his 1968 assassination — would have been "horrified" by Trump.

After the event, members of the Kennedy family were slated to knock on doors and make calls for Biden, according to the campaign.

RFK Jr. says he has some support from his family

The Kennedy family has long been a part of Democratic politics, and many prominent members have already been very critical of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s candidacy. Kennedy has promoted baseless conspiracy theories related to vaccines.

When asked for comment by NPR, Kennedy's campaign pointed to his remarks on social media that "many of my family members are working on and supportive of" his campaign.

Kennedy raised hackles within his family after a political action committee supporting his campaign ran a Super Bowl ad that drew from his uncle's 1960 presidential campaign, using the jingle, "Kennedy for Me." Helater apologized to them.

Kerry Kennedy, right, introduces President Biden at a campaign event on April 18 in Philadelphia where she and members of her family endorsed the president's reelection bid.
Alex Brandon / AP
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AP
Kerry Kennedy, right, introduces President Biden at a campaign event on April 18 in Philadelphia where she and members of her family endorsed the president's reelection bid.

The Kennedy family has said they are focused on reelecting Biden, who has cited Robert F. Kennedy Sr.'s political career as an inspiration for getting into politics as a young man.

Biden said he was "incredibly honored" by the Kennedy family endorsement. He described his view from the Resolute Desk — a desk first used in the Oval Office by President John F. Kennedy. "To the left is a bust of Martin Luther King; to the right is a bust of your dad," he told Kerry Kennedy, describing RFK Sr. as one of his heroes.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elena Moore is a production assistant for the NPR Politics Podcast. She also fills in as a reporter for the NewsDesk. Moore previously worked as a production assistant for Morning Edition. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she worked for the Washington Desk as an editorial assistant, doing both research and reporting. Before coming to NPR, Moore worked at NBC News. She is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is originally and proudly from Brooklyn, N.Y.
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