Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running in second place to incumbent President Biden in the 2024 primary sweeps, told Fox News that his once antiwar party has made a 180-degree turn as middle-class Americans struggle to live with a hurting economy.
Kennedy, who is the son of former New York senator and U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, and nephew of former President John Kennedy and ex-Sen. Edward Kennedy, said the party his family once embodied has changed much in recent years.
“The Democratic Party at this point has become the party of war, which we’ve never been before. We’ve sent $113 billion Ukraine and the entire budget of EPA is $12 billion, and the budget at the CDC is $12 billion,” he said Tuesday on “Special Report.”
Kennedy argued 57% of Americans could not “put their hands on $1,000 if they have an emergency.”
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“I think a lot of Americans are feeling like they’re tired of the forever-wars,” he said. “They’re tired of this being a warfare state abroad and a surveillance state at home. And they want to get rid of the surveillance here [and] the wars abroad.”
Kennedy contrasted the trillions in military spending with what some of those funds could do for domestic infrastructure, employment and education.
“Our real national strength is going to come from economic power and a robust economy and a robust middle class and not from projecting military power abroad,” he said.
Kennedy also said he has no personal animus against Biden, and has been friends with him for some time, as “Special Report” anchor Bret Baier cited a recent poll showing him the closest to the president with 19% support.
“I have a long kind of friendship and relationship with President Biden, so I’m not criticizing him or attacking him personally. But I think people want to see him out of the White House and actually talking to Americans; going to town halls,” he said.
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“[He] says that the economy is humming along, but that’s not what I hear when I’m out in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida. I see people really living in a state of desperation that I never thought I would see in the United States of America,” Kennedy added.
Kennedy compared purported statistics that showed a steep decline in middle-class power and wealth between the 1970s and 2020s, claiming 62% of U.S. income in 1978 was among the middle class, while that figure has dropped to 40%.
“In 1978, 29% of income went to the super rich. [Now] it’s 50%. And that was aggravated, of course, by the pandemic,” he said, adding that some of that dearth was a product of what he called “Donald Trump’s pandemic lockdown – which created 500 new billionaires.”
Kennedy signaled he is not a fan of some of the former Republican president’s policies while dismissing a charge in the Washington Post that his candidacy is Trumpism with a Camelot label.
“His name is Kennedy. His campaign is pure Trump,” Baier read of the headline from the paper, which also wrote that Kennedy is offering a “variation” on Trumpian criticisms of government and science while “stoking fear and resentment,” claiming the 2nd place Democrat’s campaign sounds somewhat like Trump’s own “America First” bid.
Kennedy responded that Trump’s tenure saw $4 trillion in wealth shifted to the “super-rich” and that there have been millions of business closures under the Republican’s administration that have also followed into Biden’s tenure.
“I think a lot of Americans want somebody who’s really going to start listening to the middle class, understanding the desperation that so many Americans feel, and that is going to do something about it,” he said.