Republicans are agitated by the assertion that independent 2024 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. supports race-based reparations.
The former Democrat, a 69-year-old member of the Kennedy family political dynasty who is perhaps now best known for his anti-vaccine activism, announced earlier this month that he would end his primary challenge to President Joe Biden and would instead continue his campaign. for the White House as an independent candidate.
Criticism of Kennedy’s alleged support for racial reparations suddenly emerged this week after a “racial healing” policy was posted on his campaign website. As part of a plan for “targeted community repair,” Kennedy’s platform asserts that “we must set aside money to rebuild Black infrastructure.”
Kennedy denies that this policy supports race-based reparations. Regardless, conservatives on social media, particularly supporters of former President Donald Trump, were quick to rally around the claim. Some celebrated the prospect of Kennedy drawing black voters away from Biden and increasing Republicans’ chances of winning back the White House.
“Very disappointing, but he’s a Democrat” wrote Jenna Ellis, former Trump lawyer and current criminal co-defendant, on X, formerly Twitter.
“Many conservatives are upset that RFK Jr. has been seeking reparations and moving toward more liberal policies since declaring himself an independent,” @WarClandestine job. “I don’t know why you’re all upset, we WANT him to appeal to the left and siphon votes from Biden, not Trump. Let him cook.”
“RFK speaking out in favor of reparations caused Trump’s numbers to skyrocket (sic)”, job @saras76, alongside three “crying face” emojis.
“RFK Jr says he supports (sic) reparations”, @Travis_in_Flint wrote. “Trump’s (sic) chances of victory have increased again. Biden is going to be wiped out.”
“Now that RFK supports race-based reparations, his support among Republican voters is expected to fall to near zero,” wrote conservative commentator Rogan “DC Draino” O’Handley. “He will now take even more black Democratic votes away from Biden, hurting Biden’s chances in narrow swing states.”
When reached for comment, a Kennedy campaign spokesperson ordered News week to the candidate’s response to O’Handley’s X-rated post, which included a defense of his policies and a denial of the idea that he had proposed race-based reparations.
“My policy of targeted community reparations is not the same as race-based reparations,” Kennedy said. wrote. “The program will make capital and resources available to America’s poorest and most desperate communities. These include inner cities, the Rust Belt, Appalachia, the devastated cities of the Belt agricultural, etc.”
“Yes, because black people are disproportionately poor, this program will disproportionately benefit them,” he continued. “But the criteria will be indicators like poverty, dependency rates, violence, etc. Not skin color.”
Claims that Kennedy specifically supports race-based reparations have been widely reported on conservative websites and in right-wing media outlets like New York Post. Report from the Republican National Committee, RNC Research, on sharing an article from Job, headlined “RFK Jr. comes out in favor of reparations, paving the way for Biden’s left”.
The amplification of this claim comes as conservatives may be wary of Kennedy’s candidacy due to new polling data that indicates he could take twice as many votes from Trump as from Biden in a hypothetical three-way race in 2024, regardless of their last name and status. as a former Democrat.
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released this week found Biden has a substantial 44 to 37 percent lead over Trump in a three-way race with Kennedy, who was the choice of 16 percent of respondents.
Kennedy snatches 10% of Republican support from Trump when he enters the race, with only 5% of Democrats breaking away from Biden. In a two-way contest without Kennedy, Biden holds a much narrower 49 to 46 percent lead over the ex-president.