Robert F Kennedy Jr to challenge for Democratic nomination

The 69-year-old’s announcement that he will run for the Democratic nomination is seen as a long shot.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at the NH Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester
Robert F Kennedy Jr speaks at the NH Institute of Politics at St Anselm College in Manchester [File: Brian Snyder/Reuters]

Democrat Robert F Kennedy Jr, an anti-vaccine activist and scion of one of the country’s most famous political families, is running for president.

Kennedy filed a statement of candidacy on Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.

The 69-year-old’s campaign to challenge for the Democratic nomination is a viewed as a long shot. Self-help author Marianne Williamson is also running in the Democratic race.

Incumbent President Joe Biden has not formally announced he will seek a second term, but some analysts expect he will.

In March, Kennedy said on Twitter he was considering running for the top position.

“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,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy – a nephew of President John F Kennedy and the son of his slain brother Robert F Kennedy – was once a bestselling author and environmental lawyer who worked on issues such as clean water.

Leading voice in anti-vaccine movement

More than 15 years ago, Kennedy became fixated on the belief that vaccines are not safe. He emerged as one of the leading voices in the anti-vaccine movement, and his work has been described by public health experts and even members of his own family as misleading and dangerous.

Kennedy intensified the effort after the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the development of new vaccines followed.

His anti-vaccine charity, Children’s Health Defense, prospered during the pandemic with revenues more than doubling in 2020 to $6.8m, according to filings made with charity regulators.

In 2022, Instagram and Facebook suspended Children’s Health Defense “for repeatedly violating our policies”.

Kennedy released a book in 2021, The Real Anthony Fauci, in which he accused the US’s top infectious disease doctor of assisting in “a historic coup d’etat against Western democracy”.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks during a rally following a march in opposition to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) mandates on the National Mall
Robert F Kennedy Jr at a rally in opposition to coronavirus mandates at the National Mall in Washington, DC [File: Tom Brenner/Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies