Kennedy Family, Sans R.F.K. Jr., Poses With Biden at the White House


Under normal circumstances, a visit by the Kennedy family to the White House on St. Patrick’s Day — a storied political family with Irish roots, hosted by a president of Irish heritage — might not be particularly newsworthy.

But this year, the gathering had an undertone of family drama and political repudiation.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is running an independent bid to supplant President Biden, breaking with the Democratic Party and with many members of his family, who have condemned his campaign as “dangerous.”

They have also pointedly backed Mr. Biden. On Sunday, Kerry Kennedy — one of Mr. Kennedy’s sisters — posted a picture of the family on X at the White House with Mr. Biden. “President Biden, you make the world better,” she wrote.

Mr. Biden responded to the post: “From one proud Irish family to another — it was good to have you all back at the White House.”

Among the other Kennedy family members in attendance was Joseph P. Kennedy III, the U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s presidential run has put him at odds with his family even as he repeatedly invokes their shared legacy on the campaign trail, and leans on Kennedy nostalgia. Mr. Kennedy, 70, an environmental lawyer, gained notoriety during the pandemic when his longstanding skepticism about vaccines and embrace of political conspiracy theories came to the fore.

Mr. Kennedy had his own message for the Biden White House on St. Patrick’s Day: A complaint, shared in an email from his campaign Sunday morning, that his request for Secret Service protection had been once again denied. The Secret Service protects major candidates for president, but it is up to the homeland security secretary in consultation with a congressional panel to determine who qualifies.

Mr. Kennedy, who is the son of the former attorney general and Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, also appeared Sunday on The Volpe Report, a Pennsylvania public-access podcast, where he discussed the 60th anniversary of a speech his father made in Scranton — the birthplace of Mr. Biden.

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