Recall what you thought in 2015 as Donald Trump rode down the Trump Tower escalator and told us precisely who he was. We all thought then “never gonna happen”. Therefore, it’s appropriate now to sound an alarm as another possible disaster rides down the cosmic escalator. Not that RFK Jr. will become the 47th President but that his candidacy will result in the election of Trump, DeSantis or another member of the party of insurrection.
So, “standin on the pavement thinkin about” Junior – pavement not far from the Tri-Boro Bridge – as Senior’s name has not caught on 16 years after the span was renamed by a New York governor whose initiatives have by and large been ignored, discarded and forgotten – my mind is flooded with negative thoughts. Not just that potential calamity of a Republican victory in 2024 but about Junior himself. Virtually all we know about him was experienced secondhand.
First thought, outside the footnote, is that Junior’s current Democratic Presidential candidate poll number of 19 to 20 percent has almost nothing to do with anything other than recognition of his father’s name and more important Aristotle’s postulate that “nature abhors a vacuum”. Many Democrats are uneasy with Joe Biden taking the oath at age 82. Any other Democrat – with high name recognition who had entered the race first against Biden would have gained an equal or greater poll percentage. Think Klobuchar or Sherrod Brown or even equally ancient Bernie. A smart Biden conspiracy would have had one such enter and later either withdraw or if shit happened (as it usually does) persist and become the nominee. After a feel-good, non-mudslinging, primary campaign of the kind Democrats had in 2016.
Second thought is to give Junior his due. A good and successful environmental lawyer, whose causes have usually been embraced by the environmental and climate change community. Both the Obama and Trump administrations seriously considered Junior for a high-level appointment.
Leading to the third thought, that neither administration appointed Junior because his old heroin conviction and current conspiracy theory pervaded anti-vax crusades, made him too hot to handle. Too hot for Trump. Think on that.
Thought four is that I don’t believe close relation justifies Junior asserting that the CIA hired Oswald and Sirhan to assassinate his uncle and father, and in the latter case to send a second gunman into the crowded room in the Ambassador (LA) Hotel. Nor do family ties forgive his conspiracy theory championing of first cousin Michael Skakel, convicted of murdering his neighbor Martha Moxley.
I have listened many times to Junior say he’s not anti-vax, just for safe vaccines. The most recent was during Michael Smerconish’s extended interview of Junior on June 5, 2023. But those denials are juxtaposed with decades of conspiracy theory-laced anti-vax campaigns. Too many to list here, but among the lowlights are his 2021 book “The Real Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health” where, among other things, Junior claims Dr. Fauci profits from COVID-19 vaccines, Gates would starve people who refuse vaccination, that Fauci is a “technocrat who helped orchestrate and execute 2020’s coup d’état against Western Democracy” and Junior touts the efficacy of Ivermectin, though not Clorox. Eschewing deep fakes but photo-shopping, Junior released a video with Fauci sporting an Adolf Hitler moustache.
Other Kennedy cousins, siblings and his wife have issued Nixonian statements “mak[ing] one thing perfectly clear”: that they disagree with his vaccine-conspiracy theories and the manner in which he promotes them. Including his recent statement that Anne Frank in the attic was more free than Americans subject to pandemic era vaccination regulations.
A dozen times each day I hear Democrats complain about the refusal of Republican leaders to condemn Trump’s body of work and his atrocity du jour. Now is the time for all good Democrats to come to the aid of their country and party and put Junior in his proper place – doing environmental law and subjecting only himself and those near and dear to him to COVID-19 and the plagues of centuries past.
 While running one of the several public office transitions I chaired, Junior called me and strongly recommended retention and promotion of a supervisory employee we had inherited. We were evaluating all who served “at the pleasure” of the new officeholder. But prior to Junior’s call we had already discovered that “they” were a serious illicit drug user (one still illegal) and Junior’s sex partner.
 In 2002 Skakel was convicted for the 1975 murder of 15-year-old Moxley. After serving 11 years of a 20 to life sentence, Skakel was granted a new trial on the basis of inadequacy of defense counsel at trial. In 2016 that decision was reversed and the murder conviction reinstated, and two years later the reinstatement reversed, and a new trial again ordered. A new trial that the prosecution declined to have 45 years after the homicide. Skakel recently sued Connecticut officials to retrieve audiotapes used at his 2002 trial, where he seemingly admitted his guilt, or so it seemed to the jury.