Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the controversial anti-vaccine activist and nephew to President John F. Kennedy, formally launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination despite the objections of several family members.
Kennedy Jr, 69, the son of Robert F. Kennedy. launched his bid to run in the 2024 United States presidential election, at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel on Wednesday, April 19.
Early in his remarks, Kennedy noted how all of his grandparents arrived in the US from Ireland in 1848 "fleeing British oppression and the potato famine back at home."
Kennedy went on to use his campaign launch speech as an opportunity to criticize school and business closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also claimed that the government and media "lie to us" and said his presidency would spell the end of the "corrupt merger of state and corporate power."
"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 – threatening now – to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism in our country; to commoditize our children, our purple mountain’s majesty; to poison our children and our people with chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs; to strip-mine our assets; to hollow out the middle class and keep us in a constant state of war," Kennedy said during his campaign launch speech.
Kennedy's family have previously denounced his anti-vaccine views and criticized him over his support for the release of Sirhan Sirhan, who shot and killed Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.
He acknowledged his family's opposition to his presidential bid during Wednesday's launch speech.
"Other members of my family who are not here today – I’m going to make a confession because I know most American families, they never have any differences with each other. So when that happens with a family, it’s really huge news, like everywhere."
Kennedy said he had "no ill will" toward the family members who opposed his presidential bid and instead pointed to several family members who attended Wednesday's launch.
Experts say that Kennedy has little chance of success of winning the Democratic presidential nomination next year but said his campaign will give him a platform to spread his anti-vaccine views over the next year.
Kennedy has been banned from YouTube and Instagram for spreading vaccine misinformation since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. He was also severely criticized for comparing Covid-19 vaccines to Nazi Germany during a speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington in 2022.