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7 May, 2024 20:07

RFK Jr. challenges Trump to debate

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claims that he is “drawing a lot of voters” from the former president
RFK Jr. challenges Trump to debate

US independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has challenged former President Donald Trump to a debate at this month’s Libertarian National Convention. Trump insists that Kennedy is “not a serious candidate.”

“I’d like to make you an offer. We’re both going to be speaking at the upcoming Libertarian convention on May 24 and 25,” Kennedy wrote in an X (formerly Twitter) post on Tuesday addressed to Trump. “It’s perfect neutral territory for you and me to have a debate where you can defend your record for your wavering supporters.”

Asked last week whether he would debate Kennedy, Trump said that the former Democrat is “not a serious candidate” and would have to “get his numbers a lot higher before he’s credible.”

In his post on Tuesday, Kennedy claimed that a poll commissioned by his campaign showed that he would “crush” President Joe Biden in a two-way contest, and would defeat Trump “in a nail-biter” in a similar matchup. Polls published last month by CNN and Quinnipiac both showed Kennedy at 16% in a contest involving him, Trump, Biden, and other independents, a result that he argued puts him “above the 15% debate threshold.”

“I’m also drawing a lot of voters from your former supporters. They are upset that you blew up the deficit, shut down their businesses during Covid, and filled your administration with swamp creatures,” Kennedy wrote. 

Known for his anti-vaccine activism, free-speech advocacy, and foreign policy pacifism, Kennedy entered the race for the White House as a Democrat last April, before announcing in October that he would run as an independent instead. His effect on this November’s election has proven difficult for pundits to predict, with polls showing him pulling support from both Biden and Trump.

“The Democrats are frightened that I’m gonna spoil the election for President Biden, and the Republicans are frightened that I’m gonna spoil it for President Trump,” Kennedy said last year. “The truth is, they’re both right. My intention is to spoil it for both of them.”

Trump and Kennedy will both deliver headline speeches at the Libertarian Party’s convention in Washington DC later this month, despite the fact that the party also intends to field its own candidate for the presidency. 

In a statement last week, Trump encouraged Libertarian Party members to back his campaign. “If Libertarians join me and the Republican Party, where we have many Libertarian views, the election won’t even be close,” he said. “We cannot have another four years of death, destruction, and incompetence. WE WILL WORK TOGETHER AND WIN!”