RFK Jr. Is Gold-Digging With His VP Pick

RFK Jr. Is Gold-Digging With His VP Pick

RFK Jr. Is Gold-Digging With His VP Pick

Nicole Shanahan has little to recommend her as a presidential running mate besides her enormous wealth.


I would never choose a vice presidential candidate based on how much money they have,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told NewsNation last week, as word of his plans to choose wealthy tech lawyer/entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan as his running mate spread nationally.

That’s just another in a string of lies Kennedy has told in his long career of shape-shifting and manipulation, culminating in his vain independent run for the presidency. There is absolutely no reason to choose Shanahan besides the wealth she controls, partly thanks to her five-year marriage to Google cofounder Sergey Brin as well as her own tech investments.

It’s certainly not because of her political acumen. Shanahan bragged that she was a driving force behind Kennedy’s ghoulish Super Bowl commercial, in which he repurposed a 1960 campaign ad for his late uncle, President John F. Kennedy, with his face superimposed on JFK’s. (She also claims that she contributed $4 million to the American Values super PAC to fund the ad, though NBC News reports that there is no record of such a contribution.)

The ad bordered on political blasphemy, using imagery from his assassinated uncle’s historic Democratic campaign to boost his independent presidential candidacy. His cousins howled in anger, publicly. “My cousin’s Super Bowl ad used our uncle’s faces—and my Mother’s,” wrote Bobby Shriver, son of JFK’s sister Eunice. “She would be appalled by his deadly health care views. Respect for science, vaccines, & health care equity were in her DNA.”

Kennedy apologized, sort of. “I’m so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain. The ad was created and aired by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or approval from my campaign…. I love you all. God bless you.”

Now he’s chosen as his running mate the woman who claims credit for the ad he says he didn’t approve. I guess that constitutes retroactive approval?

Choosing Shanahan helps Kennedy in at least two ways. Twenty-three states require an independent candidate to choose a running mate before seeking ballot access. Plus, Shanahan can use her wealth to fund the complicated legal maneuvering and signature-gathering that process requires. Kennedy is currently on the ballot only in the state of Utah, though his campaign claims to have the signatures to get there in several swing states.

“All of her money is hard money, so they can use it for anything, including ballot access,” Third Way’s Matt Bennett told The New Republic’s Greg Sargent—meaning she can contribute unlimited dollars, which could be used for virtually any legal campaign activity.

The Shanahan pick also worries some Democrats because she is young—38—a woman, and biracial, with a Chinese mother. (Like Vice President Kamala Harris, who is also biracial—Black and Asian—Shanahan hails from Oakland, Calif.) Will that matter, though, when voters get exposed to her vague but eccentric political ideas? She bounced from Marianne Williamson to Pete Buttigieg to Joe Biden in 2020, repudiated Kennedy when he planned to run against Biden as an independent, but then backed his candidacy. The mother of a daughter with autism, she says she’s not an anti-vaxxer, and she does not directly espouse Kennedy’s specious claim that childhood vaccines are responsible for a rise in autism. But she did tell The New York Times, “I do think that the increase of vaccine-related injuries is very alarming, and I do think we need to understand the screening mechanisms.”

Shanahan first got national attention in 2022 when The Wall Street Journal reported that a brief affair with Elon Musk, which she denies, led to her divorce from Brin. This People profile depicts her as a spunky entrepreneur who triumphed over a tough childhood through hard work and various forms of Silicon Valley New Age “thinking.” You can read it to see what Biden and Harris are, and aren’t, up against, facing a Kennedy-Shanahan ticket.

This week, almost as ghoulishly as in his Super Bowl ad, RFK Jr. is defiling the memory of his uncle, JFK; his late father, Robert F. Kennedy Sr.; and RFK Sr.’s friend and ally United Farmworkers’ cofounder Cesar Chavez. Kennedy announced that he would revive his uncle’s “Viva Kennedy” Latino outreach program with a celebration of Chavez’s birthday on March 30. One special guest? Former Los Angeles County sheriff Alex Villanueva, ousted by voters after only one term because of corruption in his department and his Trumpy, racist rhetoric. Neither of the late Kennedy brothers, nor Chavez himself, would be honored by Villanueva’s inclusion.

Chavez’s granddaughter Julie Chavez Rodriguez runs Joe Biden’s reelection campaign. She has so far had no comment.

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