RFK Jr. apologizes to family for Super Bowl ad that invoked President John F. Kennedy

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN - FEBRUARY 10: Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. poses with supporters during a meet and greet after a voter rally at St. Cecilia Music Center on February 10, 2024 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) launched billboards in Grand Rapids on Friday, hitting Kennedy Jr., alleging a Super PAC supporting him, American Values 2024, is receiving donations from a former mega-donor to former president Donald Trump. (Photo by Emily Elconin/Getty Images)
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. with supporters Saturday in Michigan. (Emily Elconin / Getty Images)

A Super Bowl ad touting the independent presidential candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and invoked President John F. Kennedy drew the ire of the Kennedy family.

“My cousin’s Super Bowl ad used our uncle’s faces- and my Mother’s. She would be appalled by his deadly health care views,” Bobby Shriver, the former mayor of Santa Monica and the son of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Respect for science, vaccines, & health care equity were in her DNA. She strongly supported my health care work at @ONECampaign & @RED which he opposes.”

Former California First Lady Maria Shriver reposted the message, while her brother Mark Shriver wrote that he agreed with the message, "simple as that."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental attorney who is known for promoting anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, responded with an apology.

“I'm so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain,” he wrote on X. “The ad was created and aired by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or approval from my campaign. FEC rules prohibit Super PACs from consulting with me or my staff. I love you all. God bless you.”

However, he continued promoting the ad on his X feed, at one point pinning it to the top of his profile.

Bobby Shriver declined to comment.

The 30-second ad that aired Sunday is a modified version of a minute-long one promoting John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, replacing the late president’s pictures with images of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

A political media buyer estimated the ad cost $6 million to $7 million.

Democrats have previously criticized the American Values Super PAC for being funded by a major donor to former President Trump.

When Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who lives in Los Angeles part of the year with his wife, actor Cheryl Hines, initially announced his presidential bid, he said he would run as a Democrat. He later announced that he would run as an independent, which is why he will not appear on the California primary ballot on March 5.

Candidates not affiliated with a political party do not appear on California’s presidential primary ballot but can appear on the general election ballot if they submit more than 219,000 signatures (1% of the number of registered voters in the state).

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.