J.F.K.’s Grandson Calls Robert Kennedy’s Campaign ‘an Embarrassment’

The grandson of President John F. Kennedy on Friday called Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign “an embarrassment,” becoming the latest member of the storied Kennedy family to condemn the Democratic primary challenger to President Biden.

Jack Schlossberg, the former president’s grandson and the son of Caroline Kennedy, Mr. Biden’s ambassador to Australia, made the remarks in a 1-minute 50-second social media video.

Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Schlossberg said, is “trading in on Camelot, celebrity conspiracy theories and conflict for personal gain and fame.”

He continued: “I know him. I have no idea why anyone thinks he should be president. What I do know is his candidacy is an embarrassment. Let’s not be distracted, again, by somebody’s vanity project. I am excited to vote for Joe Biden in my state’s primary, and again in the general election.”

Jack Schlossberg is a grandson of John F. Kennedy and the son of Caroline Kennedy.Credit…Josh Reynolds/Associated Press

Mr. Schlossberg, who did not respond to messages on Friday, has never run for public office, but he did speak alongside his mother in a video recorded for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

An array of Kennedy family members have denounced Mr. Kennedy’s campaign in recent days, spurred by his suggestion, caught on video and published by The New York Post, that the coronavirus was “ethnically targeted” to spare Jews and Chinese people.

His sister, Kerry Kennedy, called the remarks “deplorable and untruthful,” and his brother Joseph Kennedy II told The Boston Globe that “his remarks in no way reflect the words and actions of our father, Robert F. Kennedy.”

Former Representative Joseph Kennedy III wrote on Twitter, “I unequivocally condemn what he said.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. did not respond to messages on Friday, nor did his campaign spokeswoman. On Twitter, he has defended himself against what he called “spurious anti-Semitism charges” while highlighting support from conservative news outlets.

Mr. Kennedy has invoked his family’s legacy throughout his campaign. This month, he posted a video from Hyannis Port, Mass., that detailed the Kennedy family’s history on Cape Cod.

From April through June, Mr. Kennedy’s campaign raised more than $6.3 million, and had $4.5 million in cash on hand at the end of June, according to the quarterly report it filed with the Federal Election Commission last week.

On Friday, one of the super PACs supporting Mr. Kennedy’s candidacy said it had raised more than $16.25 million since its founding this spring, including $5 million during Mr. Kennedy’s testimony Thursday on Capitol Hill.

The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee have taken a hands-off approach to Mr. Kennedy and his campaign. The campaign is operating under the belief that the more Democratic voters hear from Mr. Kennedy, the less he will appeal to them.

And indeed, Democratic primary voters appear to be viewing Mr. Kennedy less favorably as he spreads misinformation and embraces right-wing ideas. His standing in Democratic primary polls, once as high as 20 percent, has dropped.

A Quinnipiac University poll of Democrats released this week found Mr. Biden leading Mr. Kennedy by 71 percent to 14 percent. Just 21 percent of Democrats viewed Mr. Kennedy favorably, compared with 47 percent who had an unfavorable view of him.

Mr. Kennedy’s polling performance may stem from a desire among some Democrats for an alternative to Mr. Biden: A survey released late last month by Echelon Insights, a Republican polling firm, found that Mr. Kennedy’s support among Democrats was the same in a head-to-head matchup with Mr. Biden as was that for Matthew McConaughey, the politically engaged actor who is not running for president.

Rebecca Davis O’Brien contributed reporting.

Back to top button