For decades, the Kennedy family brand has been one of unification even in the face of crisis — of which there have been many. But in the midst of Robert F. Kennedy’s controversial campaign to beat out President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination, the family who effectively defined the Democratic Party as we know it today are struggling to find harmony within their own ranks.
When the extended family gathered for the Fourth of July at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, where generations of the family have vacationed for decades, RFK Jr. was notably absent. Kerry Kennedy, RFK Jr.’s sister, shared a video depicting dozens of the family waving to the camera while celebrating along the Massachusetts coastline. In the caption of her Instagram post, Kerry wished a “Happy Birthday” to her brother, Chris, and to “our beautiful, striving, evolving, majestic, diverse country.”
Before suspicions could mount, a source close to the family was quick to explain why the 69-year-old nephew of late President John F. Kennedy and son of late U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy was nowhere to be seen. “Bobby has been campaigning,” the source told People. “They are a cohesive family. They may differ in their political views but they are family.”
RFK Jr.’s family have largely denounced his political views.
While the explanation for RFK Jr.’s absence may be valid, there is no denying that the “cohesive” family has been struggling to stand behind his recent campaign. In 2019, three family members penned an op-ed in Politico condemning him for publishing anti-vaccination theories online. “We love Bobby. He is one of the great champions of the environment,” his sister Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, brother Joseph P. Kennedy II and niece Maeve Kennedy McKean wrote. “However, on vaccines he is wrong.”
When he announced his presidential campaign earlier this year, Kerry was quick to speak out and distance herself from her brother. “I love my brother Bobby, but I do not share or endorse his opinions on many issues, including the COVID pandemic, vaccinations, and the role of social media platforms in policing false information,” she wrote in a public statement, according to People. And, in his first public address as a presidential candidate, RFK Jr. acknowledged that some of his family members “just plain disagree” with his views. He explained: “They are entitled to their beliefs…and I love them back.”
One person who was present at the family’s gathering was Caroline Kennedy’s son, Jack Schlossberg, and while the world should have been wondering where his more controversial relative was on the big day, Schlossberg managed to steal the spotlight with a wild rant of his own. Check out more on that here!
Before you go, click here to see photos of JFK and Jackie O.’s grown-up grandkids.