Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Monday explained his reaction to seeing an ad for his 2024 presidential campaign during Super Bowl LVIII, telling Fox News that he was “delighted” by it, but knew that it would “irritate” some family members.
The 30-second ad, run by the Super Pac American Values 2024, prompted Kennedy to clear things up with his kin in a social media post late Sunday night.
“I’m so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “The ad was created and aired by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or approval from my campaign. FEC rules prohibit Super PACs from consulting with me or my staff. I love you all. God bless you.”
Appearing on Fox on Monday, Kennedy was asked by host Jesse Watters about the ad, which substitutes him for his uncle, the late President John F. Kennedy, in the latter’s 1960 television spot.
After reiterating that it was the Super Pac rather than his campaign that was responsible for it, Kennedy said he was still “delighted to see it.”
“I was sitting with Cheryl [Hines] and my kids and a lot of other family members watching the Super Bowl when that popped up. So you can imagine my surprise,” he said. “I knew when I saw the ad—I love the ad—but I knew that it would irritate some members of my family because it used some of that old Kennedy iconography.”
On Sunday night, Kennedy’s cousin, Bobby Shriver, took issue with the ad, prompting Kennedy to respond on X that he wasn’t involved, adding, “I’m so sorry if that advertisement caused you pain.”
Back on Fox, Kennedy maintained that the ad itself was praiseworthy, but lamented its effect on some of his relatives.
“I don’t apologize for the ad, but I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, and it’s an easy thing for me to do, to say it’s not the ad I would have run if I had chosen it,” he said. “I’m very happy they did it, and I think it was very creative, but I also knew it would hurt people, and I don’t want to hurt anybody.”
Kennedy initially entered the race in the Democratic primary, only to switch to the independent field last fall, drawing continued opposition from four of his siblings in part due to his conspiratorial views on vaccines.
“Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision, or judgment,” they wrote in a message shared by his sister, Kerry Kennedy, in October. “Today’s announcement is deeply saddening for us. We denounce his candidacy and believe it to be perilous for our country.”
Last week, the Democratic National Committee accused American Values 2024 of illegally coordinating with Kennedy in an effort to get him on the general election ballot in several states by gathering signatures. Each has denied the allegations.