Mr. Kennedy is the nephew of the slain president and the son of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y) who was assassinated in 1968 while campaigning for the Democrat presidential nomination.
The 1992 Kennedy Records Assassination Act mandated the release of all records related to the JFK assassination by 2017, a statement from Mr. Kennedy’s campaign explained.
“Trump refused to do it. Biden refused to do it. What is so embarrassing that they’re afraid to show the American public 60 years later?” the statement noted.
“Trust in government is at an all-time low. Releasing the full, unredacted historical records will help to restore that trust. In the spirit of transparency, in the spirit of democracy, the Kennedy campaign asks Americans to call upon President Biden to obey the 1992 act and release the Kennedy assassination documents to the public.”
In April, Mr. Kennedy announced his candidacy to challenge President Biden for the 2024 Democrat Party nomination before deciding on Oct. 9 to run as an independent. At its winter meeting in early 2023, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted to give its full support to President Biden’s reelection.
At President Biden’s urging, the DNC also decided to remove New Hampshire from its first-in-the-nation primary status, replacing it with South Carolina. President Biden decisively lost the 2020 Democrat presidential primary in New Hampshire but won in South Carolina.
Mr. Kennedy drew the ire of the DNC and multiple high-profile Democrats for stances that appeal to many conservatives, like an end to funding for Ukraine, finishing President Trump’s border wall, criticizing vaccination policies, and supporting the Second Amendment.
Mr. Kennedy has made several unsuccessful pleas to the Biden administration to provide Secret Service protection as he campaigns. This traditionally has been granted by the sitting president’s administration for candidates in both parties. Mr. Kennedy is paying a private security firm for protection.
Releasing certain classified documents relevant to JFK’s Nov. 22, 1963 assassination is another unfulfilled request Mr. Kennedy has repeatedly made to the Biden administration.
On May 8, Mr. Kennedy wrote on Twitter (now X) that President Biden should release all government records related to the assassination, asserting that the White House “is still keeping thousands of pages heavily redacted, including 44 pages related to a shadowy CIA agent and a covert program that had contact with Lee Harvey Oswald just months before my uncle was killed.”
“Nobody should be surprised when Americans are distrustful of a government that refuses to reveal 60-year-old secrets. The American people are entitled to see every document, as the law requires,” he wrote, adding that he believes “the majority of people working at the CIA are good, patriotic people committed to their missions and the law.”
“My own daughter-in-law was a field agent, and she is among the bravest people I have known,” Mr. Kennedy added, referencing Amaryllis Fox Kennedy. Ms. Kennedy, who is married to Robert F. Kennedy III, was named Mr. Kennedy’s campaign manager in October.
As part of a partial release of new records in December 2022, President Biden issued a signed agreement that the remainder would be released on June 30.
When that day arrived, the White House said it had publicly released more than 99 percent of the documents, but the memo signed by President Biden noted that the National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) acting archivist recommended that he postpone the public release of “certain redacted information” in the records distributed in December 2022.
“Continued postponement of public disclosure of that information is necessary to protect against identifiable harms to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, and the conduct of foreign relations that are of such gravity that they outweigh the public interest in disclosure,” the memo reads.
‘Identifiable Harm’There is an exception in the law regarding instances in which the president certifies that a continued delay is “made necessary by an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations” and that the harm is “of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest.”
Mr. Kennedy, who has said that believes the CIA was behind his uncle’s assassination, wrote a series of posts on Twitter after President Biden’s June 30 announcement.
“The assassination was 60 years ago. What national security secrets could possibly be at risk? What are they hiding?” Mr. Kennedy asked.
Mr. Kennedy argued that the postponement was an “unlawful” violation of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which mandated the release of all government-held JFK assassination records no later than October 2017.
On numerous occasions since entering the 2024 presidential race, Mr. Kennedy has expressed his view that evidence shows some in the American government were complicit in JFK’s murder.
Ex-CIA Director Allen Dulles was among the members of the Warren Commission, which was formed to review the assassination, Mr. Kennedy has noted.
President Lyndon Johnson created the commission and tasked Chief Justice Earl Warren with investigating the assassination.
The 888-page Warren Commission Report concluded that former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman in JFK’s death in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Mr. Kennedy claims that Mr. Dulles used his position with the Warren Commission to cover up evidence of CIA involvement. Sen. Robert Kennedy’s first instincts were that the agency carried out the killing, Mr. Kennedy has added.
For decades, the CIA has denied any involvement in the 35th president’s death.
Immediately after the tragedy, a Gallup poll had indicated that only 52 percent thought there was “some group or element” other than the gunman involved, 29 percent believed he acted on his own, and 19 percent were uncertain.
Mr. Oswald is the only person ever formally accused of killing JFK. Mr. Oswald denied that he was the assailant before he was killed a few days after JFK’s death by nightclub owner Jack Ruby while in police custody.
Intelligence agencies in the early 1960s attempted to “trick” JFK into launching military excursions in Vietnam and Cuba, Mr. Kennedy told podcaster Joe Rogan in an interview earlier this year.
This happened before JFK proclaimed that he must splinter the CIA into “thousands of pieces” and “scatter it into the winds” after the botched Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba that the CIA spearheaded with the goal of overthrowing Fidel Castro’s Communist regime.
JFK “learned very early on that the purpose of the CIA and the intelligence apparatus was to create a constant pipeline of new wars for them, for the military-industrial complex,” Mr. Kennedy told Mr. Rogan.
During his town halls and meet-and-greets, Mr. Kennedy tells stories from time spent with his uncle and father and connects them to his presidential campaign.
Robert F. Kennedy was born on Nov. 20, 1925. He died on June 6, 1968, hours after being shot by assassin Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5 after winning the California Democratic primary.
RFK Jr. has noted that his father had the ability to unite people from different ethnic backgrounds and walks of life and that he would like to do the same.
“I think we do that by telling the truth to people. My dad did it that way. He talked about uncomfortable issues but talked about the truth. I think people are tired of being lied to by the government, by the media,” Mr. Kennedy said.
“My dad ran against an incumbent president in his own party (Lyndon B. Johnson) during a divisive time. I’m running against a larger challenge because I am facing an entire infrastructure that is against me, from my own party and Big Tech and the pharmaceutical industry.”
He called his campaign a “peaceful insurgency” that appeals to conservative Republicans, independents, moderates, and liberal Democrats. A recent poll showed that he leads all presidential candidates among independent voters and voters younger than 45.
When asked about his stance on the Second Amendment, he said, “I believe in the Constitution, and I’m not going to take everybody’s guns away.
‘Russia Is Not Going to Lose’Mr. Kennedy has urged President Biden to negotiate a peaceful end to the Russia–Ukraine war, which started when Russia invaded the neighboring nation in February 2022.
“Russia is not going to lose this war. Russia can’t afford it,” he said. “It would be like us losing a war to Mexico.”
As part of his reasoning for ending the war, Mr. Kennedy referenced JFK.
“My uncle Jack said that the primary job of an American president of the United States is to keep the country out of war. He kept out of Vietnam. He sent only 16,000 military advisers there—mainly Green Berets,” he said.
“In October 1963, he learned that one of his Green Berets had died, and he asked his aide to give him a combat casualty list, and the aide came back and said 75 had died so far. He said: ‘That’s too many.’”
On the 60th anniversary of his uncle’s death, Mr. Kennedy addressed the occasion in a statement.
“John F. Kennedy’s assassination left an indelible scar upon the American psyche. Everyone who was alive at the time can remember where they were on that day,”
“Of all the legacies that my uncle left for our country, there is one that has not yet been fulfilled. During his term in office, he upheld a vision of America as a nation of peace, a vision that was abandoned after his death. For the next 60 years, we maintained a military empire, squandering trillions of dollars as our economy hollowed out and our health and infrastructure decayed.
“My promise to the American people is that I will put us back on the road to peace that JFK led us toward when, shortly before his death, he issued a national security order to withdraw American advisers from Vietnam. We will instead take a path back toward peace and prosperity for our country.”