RFK Jr. Axes Campaign Staffer Who Said Her ‘No. 1’ Priority Was Stopping Biden

Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

The campaign for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. confirmed Thursday it’d cut ties with Rita Palma, a campaign staffer who last week urged GOP voters in New York to back Kennedy as a way to siphon away electoral votes from their “mutual enemy” Joe Biden—whose loss in November she claimed was her “number one priority.”

A spokesperson for the campaign told The Daily Beast on Thursday that Palma wasn’t speaking on the behalf of Team Kennedy when she gave a 30-minute speech at a meeting of the Empire State Republicans last week—and suggested that Palma had misrepresented her role with the insurgent independent’s presidential campaign when she said she was the director of Kennedy’s operation in New York.

In reality, the campaign’s press secretary, Stefanie Spear, said Palma was hired to be “a ballot access consultant responsible for scheduling volunteer shifts for our upcoming signature collection drive” in New York, Spear said.

“She was not involved in electoral strategy, nationally or in New York,” Spear added. “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.”

RFK Jr. Campaign Official: My ‘No.1’ Priority Is Stopping Another Biden Win

Palma did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast, but told CNN that she “dealt with the campaign honestly” and that she has “nothing to defend.”

Palma, a proud anti-vaxxer like Kennedy, added that she still plans to support his long-shot White House bid and that she has “no ill will” toward her now-former colleagues.

In the speech that seemingly doomed her role in Kennedy’s camp, Palma went as far as conceding her candidate could never actually defeat Biden or Trump. She also shared that she used to be a Trump super fan, but stopped once he supported COVID-19 vaccines.

“However much I adore Bobby Kennedy, I am a two-time Trump voter. I knocked on doors for him in Pennsylvania, in ‘16 and ‘20. I have more Trump T-shirts than I do Bobby Kennedy T-shirts… So, I was a strong Trump voter. But frankly, with the [support he showed for] vaccines, he lost me,” she said.

In the video, a copy of which The Daily Beast obtained earlier this week, Palma went on to lay out her plans to siphon votes away from Biden, conceding that it still would not lead to a Kennedy win. However, she continued, “If I wake up November 6, and Trump wins, I’m not going to be overly upset.”

“But if Biden wins, we’re all going to be terribly upset, because he’s ruining America,” Palma went on. “And the people that control him are ruining our country. So that’s kind of, you know, the framework from which I’m coming tonight.”

The writing was on the wall for Palma’s future by Wednesday night, when Kennedy’s campaign manager—who’s also his daughter in law, Amaryllis Fox Kennedy—tweeted that Palma’s contract had been terminated.

“We terminated her contract for misrepresentation immediately upon seeing the longer video in which she gave an inaccurate job title and described a conversation that did not happen,” Amaryllis wrote, referencing her speech in New York.

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