We Need to Take a Closer Look at Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and His Presidential Fitness

AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

The Democrat National Committee and the Biden campaign are working hard to keep Robert F. Kennedy Jr. off the ballot. As activist Scott Presler has noted, they are blocking him from being on the ballot in North Carolina, along with presidential candidate and professor Cornel West. While it is a long shot that Kennedy could win the presidency, the fact that he is an alternative to both President Joe Biden and former President and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is a huge draw for many who despise the choices presented. Kennedy has positioned himself as the authentic truthteller and a White Knight for Americans' freedom of speech and medical autonomy. 

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But a new book by journalist Maureen Callahan could serve to shatter that image and narrative completely

A new book Ask Not: The Kennedys and The Women They Destroyed by Maureen Callahan, out July 2 from Little, Brown and Company, examines the scandals that have long been interwoven with the complicated history of America’s most famous political family, From Chappaquiddick, to the death of Martha Moxley and Rosemary Kennedy’s disastrous lobotomy and more. 

In an exclusive excerpt below, Callahan writes about Mary Richardson Kennedy, a talented architect, who married Robert F. "Bobby" Kennedy Jr. in 1994. They had four kids together and separated in 2010. They were still technically married when she died by suicide on May 16, 2012.

The excerpt paints Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in a really horrific light, especially in how he treated his estranged wife after her suicide.

In Bobby’s telling, here and in the press, he was the victim, enduring a mentally disturbed alcoholic wife who, at a low point in their divorce, was found passed out at the dinner table, face down in her food. 

The funeral, though — that was elegant. The service ended with “America the Beautiful,” a nod to all that the Kennedys have given their country. 

One week later, in the middle of the night, without telling Mary’s siblings or obtaining the required legal permitting, Bobby Jr. had Mary’s coffin dug up from the Kennedy family plot in Massachusetts and moved 700 feet away. When reporters found out and asked why, Bobby, through a family spokesperson, said he failed to realize how crowded the Kennedy family plot was. 

Mary was left to face traffic, no headstone marking her grave, buried alone.
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Journalist Megyn Kelly interviewed Callahan on her podcast, and dug even more deeply into this story, and the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Kennedy men and the lore that surrounds this family. In terms of Kennedy, Jr. and his run for the presidency, Callahan asked this pivotal question.

Maureen Callahan: This isn't just about that marriage, that adultery, that cruelty. This goes to a very central question: What does Bobby Kennedy really think of women? How can women be expected to vote for him and think he truly respects us and have our best interests at heart?

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Kelly makes a terrific point as well. That this information would be fair game if it were Trump—in fact, it would be 24/7 in the news cycle. So, it should be fair game for a Kennedy, and even more reason because he is from that bloodline.

So, why isn't it? Why do we like to pretend that bad behavior isn't bad behavior if the person's political leanings are something that we support? Why are men like Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy held in high esteem as standard bearers, but Donald J. Trump is diminished as the lowest of the low for behavior that, while having similarities in terms of marital fidelity, is not nearly as egregious as what Bill Clinton or the Kennedys have done? Case in point: When I typed into my Brave Browser (not Google) the words "philandering politician," both the first hits in the AI summary and the search results were Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich. Then it gave a listing of articles about philandering politicians in the Philippines and China. William Jefferson Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy, even John Edwards didn't make the first 10 hits. So, to say there is a deliberate slanting of legacy media and algorithms to favor the marital wrongdoings of Republicans and conservatives as opposed to Democrats and the left is an understatement.

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Callahan and Kelly also discussed Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s defense of his cousin Michael Skakel. In 1975, Skakel was convicted of the murder of his 15-year-old neighbor, Martha Moxley, and spent 10 years in prison. The conviction was overturned, and the state chose not to retry Skakel. Kennedy wrote a book, "Framed," proclaiming his cousin's innocence and outlining who he thought the true killers were. He names the names of the potential killers, who are men from the Bronx who happen to be Black and biracial. So, not only does this give a window into how Kennedy views women, but one can question his willingness to further paint people of color with the broad brush of rapist and murderer when the evidence dictates otherwise. 

Callahan and Kelly segued from Teddy Kennedy and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne and Skakel's actions and how the money, power, and influence of the Kennedy family allows them to cover up their crimes and protect one another. Callahan drove home the point that Kennedy's complicity in championing his cousin and creating an alternative scenario using non-whites as the scapegoats is another reason to think twice about voting for him for president. "He has a lot to answer for for this," Callahan said.

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Callahan solidifies her thoughts that the Kennedy family's poisonous view and treatment of women has infected the culture and the way other women even talk about the Mary Jo Kopechnes and Martha Moxleys that have been ensnared in the Kennedy net. 

"The women themselves defend this indefensible behavior against their own gender," Callahan said. Women who are considering voting for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may want to more closely examine his first marriage, his background with his current wife, his viewpoints, and then reexamine their choices for a presidential candidate. 

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