Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in Council Bluffs
Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks to guests at the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center in Council Bluffs.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in Council Bluffs

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

On Sunday evening, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. paid a visit to the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center in Council Bluffs, the last of several state-wide stops that included a visit to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Kennedy is following in the footsteps of his Uncle John F. Kennedy and his father, Robert F. Kennedy, both of whom were assassinated on the campaign trail.

Kennedy seemed to link the assassinations of both his uncle and his father on their stances on the Vietnam War. “He [JFK] signed National Security order 263 ordering all the troops American troops home from Vietnam within a year, the first thousand coming in December. A month later, he was killed in Dallas. A week after that, LBJ remanded that order and the troops never came home,” Kennedy said. “My father ran against that in 1968, promising to end the war. And then he was killed.”

While Kennedy seems to be widely known for his opposition to vaccines, the topic only came up once during Q&A, when he was asked to comment on a recent story on royalty payments over vaccines.

Kennedy represents some traditional democrat positions of the past, including an anti-war stance that included opposing the United States’ involvement in Ukraine. “Economic computation is good for everybody. Military competition is disastrous for all of us.” Kennedy also criticized corporate power represented by companies like BlackRock and State Street “strip-mining the wealth out from our country.” He also believes in climate change as an existential threat but believes carbon capture does not work and only serves to subsidize the “carbon industry.”

Kennedy had clear crossover appeal with both democrats and republicans in attendance. “If the country’s going to work, it has to be a lot less partisan,” Kennedy said. “We need to be able to reach across the aisle to each other, and it’s important you know my administration is not going to be a partisan administration — it’s going to be an American Administration.”

Around 50 people attended the event, but there were no members of the media on hand to cover it. Kennedy’s campaign manager, Dennis Kucinich, a former Ohio Congressman and Presidential candidate himself, was happy with the turnout. “I had somebody talk to me yesterday who’s covered these things for 30 years,” Kucinich said. “He said Mr. Kennedy is getting turnouts that are like pre-caucus turnouts. So thank you, Council Bluffs.”

Watch my shaky, hard-to-hear livestream of the event.