RFK Jr. Challenges Biden to Debate: ‘Our Party Has Gone Off Track’

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
April 26, 2023US News
RFK Jr. Challenges Biden to Debate: ‘Our Party Has Gone Off Track’
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (L) speaks during a campaign event to launch his 2024 presidential bid at the Boston Park Plaza in Boston, Mass., on April 19, 2023. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images); President Joe Biden (R) speaks to the crowd during a celebration event at St. Muredach's Cathedral in Ballina, Ireland, on April 14, 2023. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is calling on President Joe Biden to join him for a number of debates and town hall meetings after the incumbent officially announced his 2024 reelection campaign on Tuesday.

In a series of tweets on April 25, Kennedy said he believes the Democratic Party no longer adheres to traditional values and “has gone off track,” adding that it was time to return “our party and our nation to the people.”

“I have known and liked Joe Biden for many years, but we differ profoundly on fundamental issues such as corporate influence in government, censorship, civil liberties, poverty, corruption, and war policy, among others. I look forward to engaging him in debates and town hall meetings, in a primary election that is honest, civil, and transparent. I invite him into a new era of respectful dialog in these times of division,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy, the son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, officially announced his campaign for the presidency last week, becoming the first Kennedy since 1979 to make a bid for the White House and the third to challenge a sitting president.

“I am a multi-generational Democrat, but I think our party has gone off track,” Kennedy said. “Remember when we upheld the interests of the poor and middle class against big corporations and Wall Street? Remember when we were the party of peace, civil liberties, and people power? I aim to reclaim my party and its traditional values.

“The Biden administration is riddled with Neocons, war hawks, Wall Street people, and former corporate lobbyists,” he continued. “That’s what the party elite has become. But I know the rank-and-file—and the American people as a whole—don’t share their priorities. It’s time to return our party and our nation to the people.”

Apart from Biden, Kennedy is the second other candidate to declare a run for the Democratic nomination, joining author Marianne Williamson, who also sought the party’s nomination in 2020.

NTD Photo
Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson prepares for a television interview after the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theater in Detroit, Mich., on July 30, 2019. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

DNC Plans to Skip Debates

Kennedy’s challenge comes amid reports that the Democrat National Committee (DNC) plans to forgo primary debates altogether in the upcoming presidential election cycle, prompting the 69-year-old candidate to respond on the matter.

“Debates and town halls are part of the democratic process,” Kennedy told The Epoch Times’s Jan Jekielek, host of American Thought Leaders, on April 24. “We’re living in a time when there’s a lot of Americans who believe our democracy is broken. And I think both political parties have to bend over backwards to start restoring faith in democracy and electional integrity.

“Americans think the entire system is rigged against them,” he added. “And if the DNC goes through with this—its plan to not have debate—I think that will serve as … an unfortunate confirmation to a lot of Americans that the system is indeed rigged.”

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk commented on Kennedy’s tweet that challenged Biden to the debate stage, saying: “You and other candidates deserve that opportunity!”

Kennedy was not the only Democrat to decry the DNC’s plan to skip primary debates, despite multiple candidates vying for the party’s nomination: Williamson also weighed in on the matter.

“The DNC ‘plans no primary debates,'” Williamson wrote on Twitter over the weekend. “As though there simply ARE no other candidates … no other ideas we should discuss about ways to win in 2024, or other ideas we should discuss about ways to repair the country. Too many people are too smart to accept this.”

On Tuesday, Williamson also called on Biden to join her on the debate stage, saying the incumbent president “should face his primary challengers in a meaningful debate.”

“With the fascists at the door, the last thing we should do is limit the conversation about how to defeat them,” Williamson said in a tweet. “The assumption that Joe Biden is necessarily our best bet in 2024 should be vigorously challenged.”

After months of hints that he would seek a second term, the 80-year-old Biden announced his 2024 reelection campaign in a video posted on April 25—four years to the day after he launched his 2020 presidential bid.

“The question we are facing is whether, in the years ahead, we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer,” Biden said. “We believe that everyone is equal, that everyone should be given a fair shot to succeed in this country,” he added.

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