Robert F Kennedy Jr to challenge Biden for White House

Robert F Kennedy

Robert F Kennedy

Robert F Kennedy Jr, the 69-year-old son of assassinated Senator Robert F Kennedy and nephew of President John F Kennedy, has filed election paperwork to run for US president in 2024 as a Democrat, according to his campaign treasurer, John E Sullivan, who confirmed the filing on Wednesday.

Mr Kennedy is an outspoken anti-vaccine campaigner, and his Instagram account was removed in 2021 by the company for “repeatedly sharing debunked claims”.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties conduct their own contests, known as primaries, to choose their presidential nominee. Mr Kennedy is expected to be a rank outsider for the Democratic nomination.

President Joe Biden has indicated he will run for re-election, though he has not yet formally declared his candidacy.

Last month, another Democrat, Marianne Williamson, joined the presidential race.

In March, Mr Kennedy said on Twitter he was considering a run for president

At the time, he said: “If I run, my top priority will be to end the corrupt merger between state and corporate power that has ruined our economy, shattered the middle class, polluted our landscapes and waters, poisoned our children, and robbed us of our values and freedoms.”

Mr Kennedy told a New Hampshire crowd in March that he had “passed the biggest hurdle” – his wife greenlighting the run.

As the co-founder of an environmental law firm, Mr Kennedy won plaudits for campaigning on issues such as clean water, including working to clean up the Hudson River in New York.

Anti – Vaccine views

But his anti-vaccine views go back years and have provoked a strong backlash, including from his own family. In 2021 his sister, Kerry Kennedy, called him “very dangerous” on the issue.

In 2019, three other family members penned an op-ed in the news outlet Politico, denouncing Mr Kennedy’s anti-vaccine views.

His sister Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, brother Joseph P Kennedy II and niece Maeve Kennedy McKean said his views were “tragically wrong” and have “deadly consequences”.

In 2022, Facebook and Instagram removed accounts for an anti-vaccine group founded by Mr Kennedy, Children’s Health Defense, for “repeatedly” violating company policies on medical misinformation.

Although Mr Kennedy’s vaccine scepticism long predates Covid, he found a new audience during the pandemic, when revenues to Children’s Health Defense doubled to $6.8m (£5.5m).

Mr Kennedy also published a book, The Real Anthony Fauci, in which he accused the former US infectious disease chief of “a historic coup d’etat against Western democracy”.

He also invoked Nazi Germany during an anti-vaccine speech in Washington, DC last year.

Mr Kennedy has a voice disorder, spasmodic dysphonia, which affects the muscles in his voice box.

He married actress Cheryl Hines in 2014 and lives in Los Angeles, California

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