Kennedy announced the day before that he was dropping his bid for the presidency as a Democrat and instead running as an independent.
The move prompted Kennedy’s siblings Kerry Kennedy, Rory Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy II and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to issue a blunt rebuke of their brother.
They wrote that the politician does not share the same values as their father, former attorney general and slain presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy. “We denounce his candidacy and believe it to be perilous for our country,” the siblings wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“I love my family,” Kennedy replied. “Every family has disputes. I’ve got a lot of family members who are supporting me. There’s a lot of members of my family who are working for the Biden administration and they have their own opinions about issues.”
Kennedy did, however, say the split from the party amid the family drama was gnawing at him.
“It was very painful for me. I mean, I, you know, I was raised in the Democratic Party,” he told host Steve Doocy.
“Leaving the party of my, you know, my family is very, very difficult for me,” he said. “But … I didn’t feel I had a choice. And I think it’s the right thing right now because we’re seeing that, you know, it’s the same corporate donors that control both of the parties. And the parties are in paralysis.”
Kennedy’s shift drew criticism from the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s campaign, although it isn’t entirely clear yet how it will affect an expected showdown between the ex-president and the incumbent.
Kennedy’s anti-vaccine stance has caught the interest of some Republicans and he has used Fox News guest appearances to raise his profile.
Watch his remarks about his family beginning around the 5-minute mark: