Good News for Trump: RFK Jr. Picks Leftist VP w/ Extreme Views on Abortion, Social Justice


(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) Independent third-party candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. formally announced his running mate Tuesday at a livestreamed event from Oakland, Calif.

The announcement laid to rest weeks of rumors, although speculation most recently has centered on his eventual pick: Nicole Shanahan, the former wife of Google cofounder Sergey Brin.

Shanahan, who prominently bankrolled a Super Bowl ad for Kennedy, is likely to have a huge financial impact on his campaign—putting him further into contention in a race where he already promised to be a political spoiler on par with Reform Party candidate Ross Perot’s 1992 run, when the Texas billionaire’s double-digit support succeeded in electing then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton over incumbent President George H.W. Bush.

Many, however, wondered whether RFK Jr.’s presence would do more damage to the re-election effort of incumbent President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump.

Despite Kennedy’s long history as a Democrat—with whom he continues to align on many fundamental policy issues—he also has embraced a similar anti-Establishment sentiment to Trump on issues such as his outspoken vaccine skepticism and several beliefs about the corruption of the deep state that have been derided by mainstream media as “conspiracy theories.”

According to donor data from the Federal Election Commission, Shanahan has notably suppored politically vulnerable Democrats such as Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Jared Golden of Maine and Sharice Davids of Kansas.

Despite claiming to be moderates, all three have typically voted lockstep with the far-left. According to the Heritage Foundation, Spanberger and Davids each have a voting score of 9% on conservative issues, while Golden’s is 28%. For context, “Squad” leader Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez has a score of 19%. Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders has a score of 34%.

Shanahan also has given to less “centrist” candidates including current President Joe Biden and failed 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, as well as Marianne Williamson, the new-age guru who is challenging Biden in the Democrat primary.

More alarmingly, Shanahan has given money to Emily’s List—an extremist anti-life group that lent tacit support to the violent abortion riots following the overturning of Roe v. Wade—as well as the Win the ERA PAC, which seeks to enshrine the controversial so-called Equal Rights Amendment into the U.S. Constitution.

The 1972 measure is considered by some to be a back-door effort to codify abortion as the law of the land, and also would eliminate all gender distinctions between the two sexes, while also having major implications for the transgender and LGBT agendas.

Shanahan likewise has an alarming record on “social justice” initiatives, having given significant funding to current Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon and supported other efforts that were loosely linked to the “defund the police” movement.

Shanahan’s radical record is good news for the Trump campaign, which would have found itself in a significantly more vulnerable position had Kennedy picked one of the more conservative or libertarian choices from his list.

Those names include NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and popular podcast host Mike Rowe as well as former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, were both floated as possibilities as well but declined consideration. Gabbard remains in consideration on former President Donald Trump’s shortlist for the GOP ticket.

At his announcement event on Tuesday, Kennedy said he would buck the partisan trend in Washington, D.C., by pledging to work across the aisle.

“I have witnessed an upwelling of optimism that I’ve never seen before. Something is stirring in us that says it doesn’t have to be this way, and so I’ve come here today to declare our independence from the tyrrany of corruption, which robs us of affordable lives, our belief in the future and our respect for each other,” he said in his speech.

“But to do that, I must first declare my own independence—independence from the Democratic Party, and from all other political parties,” he added.

However, the political scion—whose famous uncle, President John F. Kennedy, and father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy Sr., D-N.Y., were both assassinated within five years during the 1960s, when he was a child and teenager—said that it was not an easy decision to divorce himself from the Democrats, given his family’s longstanding historic and ongoing ties to the party.

Kennedy’s father was running as an outside candidate in the 1968 election to challenge incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey when he was shot and killed by a Palestinian radical while celebrating his victory in the California primary. The issue has notably arisen due to the Biden administration’s refusal to provide Secret Service protection for the younger Kennedy.

“It’s very painful for me to let go of the party of my uncles, my father, my grandfather and both of my great-grandfathers,” Kennedy said during the speech.

“But my sacrifice is nothing compared to the risk our founding fathers took when they signed the Declaration of Independence 247 years ago,” he continued. “They knew that if their revolution failed, every last one of them would be hanged. They chose to place everything on the line.”

Without the backing of a party, Kennedy faces an arduous task to get on the ballot, with varying rules across the 50 states. He’s picking a running mate now because about half of the states require him to designate one before he can apply for ballot access.

The requirement is already bedeviling Kennedy’s ballot access effort in Nevada, where Democratic Secretary of State Francisco Aguilar said in a March 7 letter to independent candidates that they must nominate a vice-presidential candidate before collecting signatures.

The letter came days after Kennedy’s campaign announced he’d collected enough signatures in the state. If Aguilar’s opinion survives a likely legal challenge, Kennedy will have to start again in collecting just over 10,000 signatures in the state.

“This is the epitome of corruption,” said Paul Rossi, a Kennedy campaign lawyer, in a statement Monday, accusing Aguilar of doing the bidding of the Democratic National Committee.

Kennedy has secured access to the ballot in Utah. He and an allied super PAC, American Values 2024, say they’ve collected enough signatures to qualify in several other states, including swing states Arizona and Georgia, but election officials there have not yet signed off.

The DNC, meanwhile, is gearing up to take on Kennedy and other third-party options, including No Labels, a well-funded group working to recruit a centrist ticket.

That effort is overseen by veteran strategist Mary Beth Cahill, whose resume includes chief of staff to the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, another of RFK Jr.’s uncles.

Ben Sellers is the editor of Headline USA. Follow him at The Associated Press contributed to this report.