2024 Election /

RFK Jr. Draws Criticism from Trump, Democrats After VP Announcement

The independent candidate and his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, have been denounced as a ‘radical’ ‘spoilers’

RFK Jr. Draws Criticism from Trump, Democrats After VP Announcement

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. drew criticism from both sides of the political aisle after announcing his running mate on Tuesday.

During an event in Oakland, California, Kennedy introduced multimillionaire tech entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his vice-presidential pick.

“If Nicole and I can get Americans to refuse to vote from fear, we’re going to be in the White House in November,” Kennedy told the sizable, American flag-waving crowd. “Nicole and I are running to help heal the symptoms of an ailing America – to heal our divisions, to heal our economy, to heal our mental health and our spiritual and our physical health. But we can’t do it alone. We need you.”

He continued: “And now, I have a governing partner who will fight for you and for your family until the last corporate kickback from our government, the last toxin is cleared from our water and our soil; until the last American child gets to live a healthy life, and to pursue their own happiness in the land of the free; until the last censor is gone from our government.”

“I’m confident that there is no American more qualified than Nicole Shanahan to play this role,” Kennedy added.

Shanahan, a Silicon Valley attorney whom Kennedy described as knowing the region “inside and out,” has been a notable backer of the independent candidate’s campaign. She played a pivotal role in financing Kennedy’s $7 million Super Bowl spot that refashioned a vintage John F. Kennedy ad.

“It seems like a great opportunity to highlight that he’s running for president,” she told The New York Times. “What a beautiful homage to this wonderful family.”

A March 26 report from POLITICO referred to Shanahan as a “wild card,” stating:
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s vice presidential pick doesn’t have the kind of public persona typically associated with politicians. She’s not a frequent-flier on cable news, barely has a social media presence and is interested in some niche policy issues, like reproductive senescence, regenerative agriculture and gut biomes.

But what Shanahan, 38, has is an abundance of wealth (which will come in handy as Kennedy mounts an expensive cross-country ballot access effort) and a powerful rags-to-riches story that many politicians would gleefully milk in advertisements.

The Tuesday event, which received about 750,000 live viewers on X at its peak, sparked criticism from former President Donald Trump and several Democrats.

“RFK Jr. is the most Radical Left Candidate in the race, by far,” Trump wrote on Truth Social early Wednesday morning. “He’s a big fan of the Green New Scam, and other economy killing disasters. I guess this would mean he is going to be taking votes from Crooked Joe Biden, which would be a great service to America.”

Trump said Shanahan is “even more ‘Liberal’ than him, if that’s possible.”

“Kennedy is a Radical Left Democrat, and always will be!!!,” he added. “It’s great for MAGA, but the Communists will make it very hard for him to get on the Ballot. Expect him, and her, to be indicted any day now, probably for Environmental Fraud! He is Crooked Joe Biden’s Political Opponent, not mine. I love that he is running!”

Last June, when asked about Kennedy during a radio interview, Trump referred to the independent candidate as “a very smart guy.”

“He’s a very good man and his heart is in the right place and he’s doing really well!” the former president said at the time.

CNN reports that one surrogate for the Democratic National Committee said Kennedy is merely “Donald Trump with a Kennedy name slapped on him.”

“There is absolutely no path for Kennedy to become president – and he knows that, that is why he picked a VP … who can buy his way onto the ballot in a number of states,” Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow said.

California Rep. Robert Garcia referred to Kennedy as “a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist.”

“He is anti-vaccine, he is anti-science, he is anti-truth and does nothing but put out lies and misinformation that actually damages and hurts public health across this country,” he added. "And his vice-presidential pick essentially just doubles down on these anti-vaccine conspiracies, anti-health agenda.”

During remarks Tuesday, Shanahan called for more research into “every possible cause of the chronic disease epidemic.”

“Pharmaceutical medicine has its place, but no single safety study can assess the cumulative impact of one prescription on top of another prescription, and one shot on top of another shot on top of another shot throughout the course of childhood,” she said. “We just don't do that study right now, and we ought to.”

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis called Kennedy a “spoiler.”

“He was drafted into this race by Donald Trump’s top supporters,” he said, per The Hill. “He has no realistic path to victory in Pennsylvania.”

The outlet reports:

Democrats have disregarded Kennedy during most of the 2024 presidential cycle, speculating that he had no shot of winning the battle for the White House. While Biden’s polling is perilous for an incumbent, many in his orbit have avoided going after Kennedy in order to focus fully on Trump.

That apathy toward Kennedy, however, has morphed in recent weeks into anguish and anger. As both parties’ primaries pointed to a Biden-Trump rematch, Democrats started examining more closely the third-party candidate who could create an unpredictable and possibly unfavorable outcome for their side in November.

Clear Choice PAC – which aims “to show Americans the clear choice between President Biden’s strong vision for the future, and the danger of unelectable spoiler candidates tipping the election to Donald Trump” – recently launched rfkjrfacts.com in an effort to declare the candidate “extremely dangerous.”

“RFK Jr. is a MAGA-backed candidate who is bankrolled by billionaires to help reelect Donald Trump,” the site states. “He pushes conspiracy theories that divide our country, has made millions of dollars opposing vaccines, and has a history of anti-Black, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-Semitic remarks.”

Politically active pundits on X expressed misgivings about Kennedy and Shanahan, who was particularly criticized for donating over $150,000 to George Soros-back progressive Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón in 2020.

According to current Real Clear Politics polling, a three-way match-up puts Kennedy at 12.3 percent, Trump at 40.7 percent, and Biden at 35.3 percent.

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