Kennedy family members endorse President Biden in a rejection of RFK Jr.

President Joe Biden walks from Marine One after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, April 17, 2024, after a 2-day campaign trip to Pennsylvania.

Members of the Kennedy family, one of the most iconic names in Democratic politics, will formally endorse President Joe Biden's reelection bid Thursday in a rejection of their relative Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running for president as an independent.

The endorsement, which the Kennedy family will make official at an afternoon Biden campaign rally in Philadelphia, is not a surprise. Several Kennedys have already made their support for Biden known, including by appearing with the president during a St. Patrick's Day celebration at the White House last month.

Yet the showing of more than a dozen members from the families of President John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy gives an important boost for Biden as his allies work to keep Robert F Kennedy Jr. from pulling voters away from Biden.

"Donald Trump is running to take us backwards, attacking the most basic rights and freedoms that are core to who we are as Americans," Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and the younger sister of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., plans to say at the event, according to excerpts provided by the campaign.

"A vote for Joe Biden is a vote to save our democracy and our decency. It is a vote for what my father called for, in his own presidential announcement in 1968 − 'our right to the moral leadership of this planet.'"


Among the Kennedys in attendance will be former U.S. Reps. Joe Kennedy II and Joe Kennedy III, who currently serves as Biden's United States special envoy for Northern Ireland.

Others will include Beth Kennedy, Christopher Kennedy, Maxwell Kennedy Sr, Vicki Strauss Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Kerry Kennedy Meltzer, Max Meltzer, Ted Kennedy Jr., Stephen Kennedy Smith, Peter McKelvy and Rebeca McKelvy.


Biden considerers Robert F. Kennedy, the late former U.S. senator from New York and attorney general, one of his political hero and displays his bust in the Oval Office.

Even before Thursday's endorsement, several Kennedy family members publicly opposed Robert F. Kennedy's candidacy.

"Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision or judgment," Kerry Kennedy and three other siblings − Joseph Kennedy II, Rory Kennedy and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend − wrote in a statement after Kennedy announced his independent bid last October. "We denounce his candidacy and believe it to be perilous for our country."

In an interview on CNN last month, Robert F. Kennedy addressed the criticism of his family members. "I've got a big family. I don't know anybody in America who's got a family who agrees with them on everything," he said.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. currently has the support of 11.7% of likely voters nationally, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. That doesn't make him a serious contender to win the election. But his double-digit standing is more than enough to swing outcomes in battleground states − and Democrats are taking the threat seriously.

The Democratic National Committee recently brought on a legal team to scrutinize Kennedy's efforts to make it on the ballots in key swing states and expanded campaign operations to paint Kennedy as a radical conspiracy theorist who is getting boosted financially by a Trump Super PAC's largest donor.

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attends a Cesar Chavez Day event at Union Station on March 30, 2024 in Los AngelIndependent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. attends a Cesar Chavez Day event at Union Station on March 30, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.