Moms for Liberty, a group that advocates for parental rights in education, announced on June 20 that Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. would be speaking at its annual Joyful Warriors National Summit in Philadelphia. One week later, the Kennedy campaign released a statement announcing that Kennedy’s “schedule changed” and that he could “no longer speak at the summit.”
In the span of just 24 hours, Kennedy and his campaign would give three different reasons for his abandoning the conference—all of which seem blatantly dishonest.
On June 27, Kennedy’s campaign team informed media outlets that he had to turn down the event due to “schedule changes” and “family reasons.” At a NewsNation town hall that evening, Kennedy told the crowd that he had no knowledge that the event was scheduled, blaming the scheduling on a female staffer.
After an audience member challenged that answer as irresponsible, Kennedy changed his answer to suggest he canceled his engagement after learning that Moms for Liberty was against “gay marriage.”
Notably, Kennedy muttered and stuttered through his town hall answers on the subject while he was fairly concise and articulate through the rest of the event.
Each excuse provided by Kennedy and his campaign appears to be false—and though The Daily Signal confirmed Kennedy’s apparent dishonesty via emails and phone records between the Kennedy team and Moms for Liberty, those were unnecessary to poke holes in this Swiss cheese of an alibi.
It is highly doubtful that he canceled the event due to “family reasons.” Kennedy was offered a slot to speak at the Moms for Liberty event sometime between June 30 and July 2. According to both his social media and campaign website, he did not spend his time with family throughout the weekend but instead made impromptu stops on his way home from the June 28 NewsNation town hall in New Hampshire.
Kennedy made a stop in Cleveland on June 29 before heading back to his home in Los Angeles to take a video of himself standing next to union strikers on July 2. According to officials from the hotel workers union, they weren’t contacted by the Kennedy team until Saturday, July 1.
One could make the argument that Kennedy really did have family plans for the weekend—but instead of referencing or repeating the statement made by his campaign just hours earlier, Kennedy decided to give an excuse, saying he did not know about the invitation:
James Williams, a gay man who was in attendance at the NewsNation town hall, asked Kennedy why he should vote for Kennedy after he agreed to speak at the Moms for Liberty summit. Williams accused the group of wanting “to ban my [gay] marriage.”
Kennedy stumbled for a few moments, first saying, “I did not speak in front of that group.”
He then pivoted, blaming the invitation acceptance on a female staffer: “Somebody on my staff accepted that invitation; I was unaware of it,” Kennedy began.
Williams cut him off and criticized Kennedy for “blaming staff,” saying, “You have to take responsibility.”
Kennedy then responded, “I’m at the beginning of a campaign. I have no long-term staff. We weren’t allowed to even raise money until April 5th, so I’m scaling a campaign very, very quickly and I accept a lot of invitations without the capacity to look into them.”
After admitting that he personally accepts a lot of invitations under the cover of naïvety, Kennedy again threw his staffer under the bus: “When a member of my staff, through no fault of her own, who accepted that, and when I found out that [wanting to ban gay marriage] was their position, I declined to go.”
Kennedy never mentioned “family reasons” or “schedule changes” for abandoning the summit—but instead suggests that he both did and didn’t have knowledge of the invitation, that he and his staffer accepted the invitation, and that his excuse for canceling his appearance was because of Moms for Liberty’s supposed anti-gay marriage stance.
For a presidential hopeful, this is patently embarrassing.
First, considering Moms for Liberty has a lesbian in a lesbian marriage on its national board and also featured lesbian Jaimee Michell, the founder of Gays Against Groomers, at the summit, it’s ridiculous to suggest the organization “wants to ban gay marriage.”
No press release, tweet, post, interview, article, or any other Moms for Liberty statement has ever condemned gay marriage or suggested legislation or promoted court rulings in favor of or against it.
In response to Williams’ anti-gay marriage claim, Tina Descovich, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, told The Daily Signal, “Moms for Liberty focuses on our mission, solely, which is to protect parental rights at all levels of government, and we are concerned about what’s happening in public education in America. It has nothing to do with who an individual chooses to marry.”
Second, Kennedy seems to be lying about having no knowledge of the invitation. According to phone records obtained by The Daily Signal and an interview with Descovich, Kennedy called Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice to personally confirm and discuss his appearance at the summit.
Third, Kennedy appears to be lying about the “female staffer” being the only one who accepted the invitation to speak at the summit. According to emails and call logs provided by Descovich, Kennedy’s campaign manager, Dennis Kucinich, also called Moms for Liberty staff to discuss Kennedy’s appearance.
Fourth, the staffer who communicated with Moms for Liberty was not some unknown new entity as Kennedy implied. According to Descovich and emails I saw, Kennedy’s scheduling director sent numerous emails back and forth with the Moms for Liberty staff, including a biography and headshot to be used in Moms for Liberty promotions.
Fifth, Kennedy claims that no one had looked into Moms for Liberty before. According to the emails and call records, the scheduling director told Moms for Liberty that she had included Kennedy’s director of communications and director of messaging in approving the press release sent by Moms for Liberty announcing Kennedy’s appearance.
So, several director-level members of his staff directly approved Moms for Liberty’s promotion of Kennedy’s appearance.
Justice, the other co-founder of Moms for Liberty, also confirmed the specifics of this account.
“I think he missed an opportunity because there were probably some votes in the room for him,” Justice told The Daily Signal. “I think there were moms who did want to hear from him and him backing out of speaking showed them that maybe he wasn’t the leader they thought he was.”
The Kennedy presidential campaign did not respond to questions from The Daily Signal in time for this article’s publication.
Why did Kennedy really choose to abandon the Moms for Liberty summit? The answer seems a bit more obvious: He is running for president in the Democratic primary.
It’s no secret that in the present political climate, Democratic politicians largely side with teachers unions and progressive education advocates over parents.
President Joe Biden has twice stated that children of the United States are “ours” collectively, not just their parents’. Article upon article from progressive education activists deride “parental rights,” claiming that children need the government—not parents—to succeed.
Kennedy bowed to a left-wing mob enraged over his choosing to speak to a group of parents rabidly classified by leftist groups and media outlets as “extremists” and “Nazis.” The Democratic Party is no longer the Rust Belt-, trade union-focused labor party of the 1980s and 90s—and Kennedy is learning this the hard way.
In essence, progressives should find Kennedy’s performance over the last week endearing. Kennedy has shown that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win elections—maybe even lying.
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