Dem campaign call reveals panic mode over RFK Jr.'s White House bid, scramble to save Biden re-election hopes

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Democrats appear to be in panic mode as they scramble to save President Biden’s re-election hopes from the threat of independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign, a call hosted by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) revealed Tuesday afternoon.

The call with members of the press took place immediately after Kennedy announced tech entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his vice presidential running mate at a rally in Oakland, California, and included Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Calif., Pennsylvania Lieutenant Gov. Austin Davis, and Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, who all fretted that Kennedy would likely ruin any chance of Biden being re-elected.

“We are doing everything in our power to get President Biden and Vice President Harris reelected. It’s critical that we take seriously every possible obstacle to that goal. And let me be clear, that’s exactly what Robert F. Kennedy is in this election. He’s a spoiler,” Davis said.


Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President Biden, and Kennedy’s vice presidential running mate Nicole Shanahan. (Getty Images)

McMorrow agreed, saying it was important for her to be on the call to share “how horrifying this campaign is and what it really means on the ground for Michigan.”

“Him being in the race means that there is a greater likelihood that Donald Trump will become president again,” she said.

Earlier in the call, Garcia railed against Kennedy as “a tin foil hat conspiracy theorist,” referencing his past skepticism toward vaccines, particularly those aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic. He also accused Shanahan of holding an “anti-health agenda” despite a large portion of her introduction as Kennedy’s running mate being focused on Americans’ health, especially that of children.

“He’s turning to Trump mega-donors to really support this, really, spoiler campaign. I think he’s likely interested in trying to get Donald Trump elected. Maybe that’s what this is about. And many of us are not sure, but he is someone that should not be taken seriously as a serious person. I mean, certainly his campaign is quite dangerous,” Garcia said, appearing to launch his own conspiracy theory about Kennedy’s candidacy.

His reference to former President Donald Trump’s donors supporting Kennedy was likely referring to Timothy Mellon, the heir to the Mellon banking fortune who has given millions to outside groups supporting Trump’s third run for the presidency. Last year, Mellon donated millions to American Values 2024, a super PAC backing Kennedy.


Trump Mar-a-Lago

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump arrives for an election-night watch party at Mar-a-Lago on March 5, 2024 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Garcia continued to harp on Kennedy’s past positions on vaccines, referring to his bid for the presidency as “disgusting and shameful,” and calling on him to end his “horrific campaign.”

Davis also focused heavily on Kennedy’s past vaccine rhetoric, but repeated Garcia’s theories on the origination of Kennedy’s campaign.

“The truth is that he was drafted into this race by Donald Trump’s top supporters and is being financed in this race by Trump’s largest donor. That isn’t merely a coincidence,” he said. “He has no realistic path to victory in Pennsylvania. All he can do is take away votes from President Biden and make it easier for Donald Trump to win, and we simply can’t afford to let that happen.”

Davis went on to accuse Kennedy of “deliberately” targeting Black people “with dangerous lies and conspiracy theories” about vaccines, and claimed that any suggestion he was an ally of the Black community was “frankly outrageous, and it’s offensive.”

McMorrow later added, “We cannot afford Donald Trump to be back in the White House, which is what is going to happen if people don’t see RFK for what he actually is, which is Donald Trump with a Kennedy name slapped on him.”


RFK Rally

People wait for the arrival of Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as he prepares to announce his pick for running mate at the Henry J. Kaiser Event Center on March 26, 2024 in Oakland, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

She went on to fret that Kennedy — like Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein in 2016 — could spoil a key swing state like Michigan for Biden. 

“You don’t need significant support to throw an election to Donald Trump. We saw this play out in 2016 where Jill Stein got 50,000 votes and Hillary Clinton lost by 10,000 votes in Michigan. So it is this type of a campaign — and Kennedy should be smart enough to know better. But I don’t think he does. I think his ego is in the way,” she said.

Earlier this month, the DNC launched an effort to silence the threat from third-party candidates, namely Kennedy, in the form of a team that is expected to actively combat them with legal challenges and opposition research.


Shanahan, Kennedy

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., partner with Morgan & Morgan PA and 2024 independent presidential candidate, right, and Nicole Shanahan, 2024 independent vice presidential candidate, during a campaign event in Oakland, California, US, on Tuesday, March 26, 2024. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Democrat strategist Lis Smith, who helped lead Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 campaign and is consulting for the DNC on the project, set off a storm of X posts and reposts following Kennedy’s Tuesday speech, referring to the candidate as a “spoiler,” and sharing a video where she accused Shanahan of buying her inclusion on the ticket by donating millions to boost Kennedy before she was named his running mate.

The Democrats weren’t the only ones to go after Kennedy on Tuesday. The Trump-aligned super PAC Make America Great Again, Inc. released a statement that read, “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a far-left radical that supports reparations, backs the Green New Deal, and wants to ban fracking. It’s no surprise he would pick a Biden donor leftist as his running mate.”

The group slamming Shanahan as a Biden donor was in reference to her backing of the president in his 2020 bid for the White House before flipping to Kennedy this election cycle.

Recent polls have shown Kennedy, Stein and independent candidate Dr. Cornel West would pull significant support from both Biden and Trump, but with Biden appearing to be at risk of losing the most potential votes.

The latest RealClearPolitics average of polls has Kennedy reaching 15% in a three-way race against Biden and Trump. The average shows Trump ahead of Biden by 4 points. 

A five-way race including West and Stein has Kennedy’s support at 11%, with Trump having a 2-point advantage over Biden. 

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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