OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former President Donald Trump’s campaign dismissed as “fake news” a report over the weekend claiming he was considering Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a potential running mate.
Citing anonymous sources, Fox News reported that Trump’s team had made “preliminary overtures” to RFK Jr., who began his 2024 presidential campaign as a Democrat but who has since become an independent, blaming his former party for shutting him out in favor of protecting President Joe Biden.
Fox News reported the story, citing the New York Post as its main source for the assertion that Kennedy, 70, had been considered as a potential running mate for Trump.
“Trump operatives expressed an interest in Kennedy early on, but it was all premature,” one person familiar with the matter told the outlet, adding it was “right out of the box when Bobby announced” in April 2023 that he was making a run for the White House.
The claim by Fox and The Post was quickly dismissed by GOP political strategist Chris LaCivita.
“This is 100% FAKE NEWS – NO ONE from the Trump Campaign ever approached RFK jr (or ever will) – one of the most LIBERAL and radical environmentalists in the country. For all the fake news – update your stories,” he wrote on the X platform.
This is 100% FAKE NEWS – NO ONE from the Trump Campaign ever approached RFK jr (or ever will) – one of the most LIBERAL and radical environmentalists in the country. For all the fake news- update your stories. https://t.co/HYBJLqSux0
— Chris LaCivita (@LaCivitaC) January 28, 2024
Political analysts attempting to handicap the outcome of the 2024 election increasingly believe that RFK Jr.’s appeal — and that of Green Party candidate and professor Cornel West — will ultimately take more votes from President Joe Biden than Trump.
“While long shots emerge atop the field, Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have proved resilient as oft-competing factions of the party have coalesced around the goal of keeping Biden in the Oval Office,” Breitbart News noted in December.
In addition, there has been increased speculation that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), who has announced he won’t run for reelection next year, could also mount a challenge under the No Labels Party.
Initial responses to the entrance of both candidates into the 2024 presidential race were mixed as to which major party candidate—Democrat Biden or the frontrunning GOP contender, Donald Trump—would be impacted most. But, as Breitbart reported, increasingly, the upper echelons of the Democratic Party believe Biden will be harmed more than Trump.
NBC News reported: With the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way acting as the hub, other groups in the coalition have focused on their expertise: MoveOn.org is attempting to keep progressive voters in the fold, while “never Trump” organizations like the Lincoln Project are attempting to do the same for moderates. Richard Gephardt, a former House Democratic leader, also founded a new bipartisan organization that has been enlisting Washington graybeards to write op-eds and speak with donors. Reproductive Freedom for All produced an ad claiming No Labels wants a national abortion ban; End Citizens United has been playing up potential campaign finance issues; and the opposition research super PAC American Bridge has retained Democratic lawyer Marc Elias to look for opportunities to bring legal challenges to third-party candidates.
While no third-party candidate has won a modern election, their presence has been acknowledged for influencing certain outcomes, Breitbart noted further.
For instance, Ross Perot’s 1992 campaign is often cited for drawing support away from George H.W. Bush, contributing to Bill Clinton’s victory. In more recent elections, some of Hillary Clinton’s supporters attribute the erosion of her support to Jill Stein, which they believe played a role in Donald Trump’s success in crucial states.
As Biden’s popularity declines amid mounting challenges both domestically and internationally, West and Kennedy aim to capitalize on the same opening that the anxious Democratic establishment is working to address.
Allegations have surfaced that Biden’s allies are aggressively targeting a former Biden aide who has spoken out against the struggling campaign, signaling a clear threat to others contemplating breaking the “Biden code of silence.”