Trump calls RFK Jr ‘wasted protest vote’ after strong polling with independents

Kennedy campaign has increased support among potential Trump voters, new polling shows

Ariana Baio
Sunday 28 April 2024 18:20 BST
Donald Trump asks Democrats to vote for RFK Jr

Donald Trump has begun lashing out at independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr amid recent polling indicating the anti-vaxxer is attracting the support of potential Trump voters.

Over the weekend, Mr Trump made at least four Truth Social posts attacking Mr Kennedy, falsely asserting he is a “Democratic plant” installed to help President Joe Biden win, that he is more liberal than any other candidate and that his views on vaccines are “fake.”

“A Vote for Junior’ would essentially be a WASTED PROTEST VOTE, that could swing either way, but would only swing against the Democrats if Republicans knew the true story about him. ” Mr Trump wrote on Saturday.

The sudden ramp-up of attacks arrives after polling from Quinnipiac, Marist and NBC News shows that Mr Kennedy’s campaign is taking votes away from Mr Trump.

An NBC News poll shows that in match-ups between Mr Trump and Mr Biden, the former president has at least a two-point lead. But when Mr Kennedy is thrown into the mix, Mr Biden then takes the lead. Marist polling indicates Mr Kennedy has managed to increase his support among independents from 21 per cent to 27 per cent – meanwhile, Mr Trump has gone from 38 per cent to 30 per cent.

Mr Trump advised Republican voters not to support Mr Kennedy, claiming he was “anti-gun”, an “extreme environmentalist”, an “open border advocate” and “anti-military.” Mr Trump also accused Mr Kennedy of contradicting his position on vaccines.

Robert F Kennedy, pictured at a campaign event on 13 April, is facing calls from national environmental groups to end his campaign
Robert F Kennedy, pictured at a campaign event on 13 April, is facing calls from national environmental groups to end his campaign (AP)

In reality, Mr Kennedy has voiced opposition to gun control legislation, heavily campaigns on ‘sealing’ the border and supports looser environmental legislation than Mr Biden.

He has also maintained extreme scepticism over vaccines and denounced vaccine mandates while disputing the “anti-vaccine” label that is often bestowed on him.

Mr Kennedy responded to Mr Trump’s attacks on X, saying the former president’s rant is “a barely coherent barrage of wild and inaccurate claims”.

“When frightened men take to social media they risk descending into vitriol, which makes them sound unhinged,” Mr Kennedy said. He advised the former president to debate him on stage rather than lobby “poisonous bombs from the safety of his bunker.”

Mr Kennedy launched his presidential campaign last April, much to the chagrin of his famous family. He initially entered the presidential candidate field as a Democrat but switched to an independent.

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