Ex-Republican congressman calls RFK Jr. a ‘MAGA crazy Republican’ who will take votes away from GOP, Trump

Former Rep. David Jolly (Fla.), who served in the House as a Republican but later left the party, ripped into independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., calling him a “MAGA crazy Republican” who could take votes from the GOP this November.

“I still think RFK Jr. could take more from Republican, and I think that’s why Donald Trump’s attacking him,” Jolly, an MSNBC political commentator, told host Jonathan Capehart on Saturday. “He is a MAGA crazy Republican; he’s a vaccine denier. He denies science, he flip-flops on the issue of abortion and even his own VP candidate can’t keep up with where he is day to day on the most important issue going into November.”

Kennedy, who switched from the Democratic party to run as an independent last fall, came under backlash last week after he told Sage Steele on her podcast that he’s against government limits on abortion, even if they’re full term.

Over the weekend, Kennedy attempted to backtrack on his previous comments, writing on the social platform X, “Abortion has been a notoriously divisive issue in America, but actually I see an emerging consensus — abortion should be legal up until a certain number of weeks, and restricted thereafter.”

His running mate, Nicole Shanahan, revealed her views on abortion last month, in which she said she doesn’t like the idea of someone regulating her body but would not feel right about terminating a viable life.

Jolly later referenced Kennedy’s recently unsurfaced statement that doctors told him a parasite ate part of his brain after experiencing memory loss and brain fog in 2010. The New York Times reviewed a deposition of Kennedy from 2012 that detailed his experience with his symptoms and the dead parasite.

“And now he says he has a woman eating his brain. He is a perfect Republican today. So who knows how he takes in specific states that really matter to a Biden victory in November,” Jolly said. “But, I would tell you, this guy speaks to the ‘Aaron Rogers Republican,’ which ultimately could take from the market crowd. I suspect to see Joe Biden having a little bit of run with RFK going into November.”

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a fellow vaccine skeptic, was on the independent candidate’s shortlist for vice president before he chose Shanahan.

The Hill reached out to the Kennedy campaign for comment.

Kennedy has said he does not align with Democrats ideologically but also does not completely fit with Republicans. Political strategists differ over whether Kennedy stands to be more damaging to President Biden or to Trump in the polls this November.

Some Republicans believe Kennedy will take away votes from Biden, shoring up support from displeased Democrats who do not want to support an octogenarian they see as ineffective.

Meanwhile, others such as Democratic strategist James Carville suggested Kennedy could take votes away from Trump. Trump’s campaign has recently stepped up its anti-Kennedy sentiment, underscoring this concern.

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