New York RFK Jr. campaign official suggests he’s a spoiler who can help Trump win


A campaign official for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s New York operation suggested to a group of Republican voters Friday that the independent candidate could help former President Donald Trump in his rematch with President Joe Biden. 

According to the video of the event, which was posted on the Uncle Mertie YouTube account and then taken down, Rita Palma, who identified herself as Kennedy’s New York state director, encouraged GOP voters to sign a petition to put Kennedy on the ballot in New York, arguing it would “get rid of Biden” and might even hand former President Trump a win in a heavily Democratic state.

“The only way that Trump can even (have a) remote possibility of taking New York is if Bobby is on the ballot,” Palma said. If it’s Trump v. Biden, Biden wins.”

The idea that Kennedy would be a spoiler for either candidate is one Kennedy has consistently denied.

Palma, who started working with the campaign a few weeks ago as a ballot access consultant overseeing volunteer shifts in New York, also raised the possibility that Kennedy might even win New York, which could also be helpful to Trump. 

“Give those 28 (New York) electoral votes to Bobby rather than to Biden, thereby reducing Biden’s 270. And we all know how that works, right — 270 wins the election,” Palma said. “If you don’t get to 270, if nobody gets to see 270, then Congress picks the president, right?  Right now we have a majority of Republicans in Congress.”

In response to Palma’s remarks, the campaign said, “[Rita Palma] is not involved in electoral strategy, nationally or in New York. This was not a campaign event.”

“Palma was speaking as a private citizen and her statements in no way reflect the strategy of the Kennedy campaign, which is to win the White House with votes from former Trump and Biden supporters alike,” the campaign told CBS News in a statement Monday. However, the campaign’s website shows she has a “team Kennedy” email address.

In the video, Palma also told voters she had previously canvassed for Trump in Pennsylvania in the 2016 and 2020 election cycles. She also encouraged voters to knock on doors in Pennsylvania to help Trump win.

“Go to Pennsylvania,” she said. “Go to — if you want to help Trump, go to Pennsylvania. Knock on doors.”

The Kennedy campaign insists that if anything, RFK Jr.’s campaign is a spoiler for both Biden and Trump, but Palma told voters the independent long shot is more of a spoiler for the Biden campaign. She pointed to the Democratic National Committee’s creation of a group dedicated to weakening third-party campaigns.

“He’s actually pulling a little bit more from Biden, which explains why the DNC is kind of ganging up on him,” Palma said.

Palma’s comments indicate differing motives among the campaign’s supporters, prompting Democrats to suggest that some Trump allies may be backing Kennedy with the goal of helping the former president return to the White House.

“RFK Jr’s campaign isn’t building a plan or a strategy to get 270 electoral votes, they’re building one to help Trump return to the Oval Office,” DNC spokesperson Matt Corridoni said in a statement Monday.

The incident marks the second time in a week that the campaign revealed divisions in its approach to mobilizing voters for the independent candidate.

Over the weekend, Kennedy issued three statements in an attempt to walk back earlier comments calling Jan. 6 protesters “activists” who “had no weapons” after a fundraising ad was released in error by the campaign.

Kennedy apologized in an updated statement on Saturday and said, “My understanding that none of the January 6 rioters who invaded the capitol were carrying firearms was incorrect.”

“Several have been convicted of carrying firearms into the Capitol building. Others assaulted Capitol police with pepper spray, bludgeons, and other makeshift weapons. This behavior is inexcusable,” he said.

The campaign said it had terminated its contract with the marketing contractor who put together the fundraising ad.


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